Hector’s Hardware, the Essence of Service

My son Joe was home for the weekend with his used-to-be-mine truck back in June. He lives in Pittsburgh now. At 10 a.m. I asked him to borrow it to bring my lawn tractor to Hector’s Main Street for service. He happily obliged.

We unloaded it and sought John the mechanic (I call him Hagrid because of his harmless, rather gruff appearance and manner). I found him in the store, limping with his cane. “Just get your stinking hip replaced already, old man” I greeted him just out of range of his cane.

“It’s better than it was. What do… you have going on?” he asked.

“You know my Toro-Wheel Horse — it needs a tune-up, sharpening and deck balance, my kid is here until the end of the day,” I said, gesturing with my thumb. “If you can’t get it done, I’ll have to get it delivered. Next week is fine.”

“That will cost you $30,” he said with a tone that meant $30 is a lot. “What did you pay for that piece of crap anyway?”

“$200 bucks five years ago” I replied.

“You’ve paid me more than that to fix it.”

“You’re right,” I said, pointing to the front of the store, “but if I pay $2,500 for one of those it won’t be as good and I’ll be in worse shape five years from now.”

“You’re probably right” he replied as I walked away.

At 1:30 my phone rang. He left a message. “This is John from Hector’s. Your machine is done.”

The bill came to $165, including some parts required for the deck which he just happened to have handy. I just hope he gets his hip fixed soon.

God bless men like him who do work like that. He’s got to be 55 and he’s worked there since high school. There is a reason for shopping at a store like Hector’s on Main with the good service provided by people like John, the two guys named Bill who work at the register or Snookie who runs the place. You might pay a little more than at the Big Box 15 minutes away, but superior service and dealing with people to whom you mean something makes it worth it.

(Joe Genco moved to Clarence to serve as Bee editor in 1987. He and his wife Beth raised their sons Joe and Ben here. Today he works as an advisor for New England Financial, helping with life and disability insurance and retirement and investment strategies for families and small businesses. You can contact him at jgenco@buffalo.nef.com The majority of his disposable income seems to be spent on Main Street in Clarence.)

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