Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

What's old is new at Dade City Hardware

DADE CITY

John Newsome remembers making butter from the family cow's milk in Lakeland during the 1940s. These days, when he shakes a glass jar to separate cream or improvises an orange-picking pole from a bamboo fishing rod, Newsome demonstrates that "there's nothing obsolete in hardware."

The owner-operator of Dade City Hardware for 52 years, Newsome maintains a low-tech approach to business with merchandise ranging from state-of-the-art supplies to retro appliances that could decorate scenes from Mad Men.

"Everything is original and new," Newsome said, "even if it's been on the shelf for 65 years."

Newsome, 79, and his daughter Jo Endress, 53, man the phones and an old-fashioned cash register while concentrating on customer service. Among the cobwebs, the 4,000-square-foot space is packed with tools and gadgets priced to sell to contractors, farmers and do-it-yourselfers.

"You won't find us on Facebook," Endress said. "In fact, we don't have a computer or voicemail."

It may seem like a time warp as you enter Dade City Hardware on Seventh Street. But Newsome claims that best-selling plumbing and electrical fixtures "keep up with the times as we roll along."

His wholesale vendors visit every Wednesday, and Newsome and Endress attend hardware shows annually.

For many years, Dade City Hardware coexisted with Case Hardware two doors away. In 2005, Case was torn down and paved over. Newsome and Endress still regard the big box stores, like Home Depot or Lowes, as no competition.

Looking for a push plow, grove scuffle hoes, a wood burning stove or an old-fashioned scythe?

"We got 'em," said Marshall Briscoe, Newsome's right-hand man for the past five years. Almost two years ago, "the boss" called back retired former employee Grady Herring to work part-time.

"It's hard sometimes when a customer describes an item rather than naming it," Briscoe said. "We have to read between the lines a lot. But camera phones have solved that problem."

The store also sells hard-to-find old auto parts and hardware for jalousie windows. Nails and screws sell by the pound and electrical wire is available by the foot, rather than prepackaged. A vintage red Radio Flyer tricycle is displayed in the window adjacent to Corelle living ware dishes, coffee percolators and oil lamps.

Local cattle rancher and retired veterinarian Richard Smalley has been a customer for 40 years.

"Johnny has everything I need," he said, "and he knows where it is."

Charlie Kirksey, a 40-year veteran service technician for Century Link, grew up at the hardware store. As a 10-year-old in 1966, he opened an account at Dade City Hardware.

"I sold all my pigs and bought a .22(-caliber) rifle for $98," he said. "I must have shot up a million cans."

Kirksey married Endress' friend, and when their son joined a T-ball league, Johnny Newsome dug into the archives.

"He pulled out a bag of 30-year-old black and white Dade City Little League T-shirts," Kirksey said. "Johnny has everything in captivity. If they don't have it, you don't need it."

. If you go

Dade City Hardware

14320 Seventh St., Dade City

(352) 567-3362

What's old is new at Dade City Hardware 03/04/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 7:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  2. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber

    World

    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  3. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant

    Nation

    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]
  4. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  5. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)