By Cathy B. Koplen Contributing Writer
The Daily Star
---- — A.C. Hoyt Hardware in Edmeston has been home to hardware transactions for the past 125 years. The store is a fixture in the community.
“It smells and sounds like an old hardware store,” said Jamison Hoyt, third-generation store owner. “It is a smells like old timber and old tools — and the sounds this old building makes – you can tell it has been around a while.”
The store was built in 1882 as a hardware store by the Hopkins family. Originally there were two buildings with an alley between them.
“The story goes that Mr. Hopkins rented out the other building to his competition,” Hoyt said. “Later on the two buildings were merged.”
Hoyt’s grandfather bought the hardware store in 1962. Arlie C. Hoyt and his wife, Marie Hoyt, ran the business together for more than 50 years.
“My grandparents are 85 years old, and they come in here to work six days a week,” Jamison Hoyt said. “They have been married 65 years. You just don’t see that very much these days.”
The elder Hoyt’s passed their work ethic down the family line.
“I thank God every day that I have this opportunity,” Jamison Hoyt said. “There are not many people who are lucky enough to have a family job just waiting for them. I like this business. I like the people. When you grow up in a small community, you really get to know everyone. I like being a part of this community.”
Jamison Hoyt said it was not always that way.
“When I was younger, I took it for granted because it was just always here,” Jamison Hoyt said. “I went to SUNY Delhi for culinary arts. Then I went to Oneonta, and then to Syracuse to work in the restaurant business. But I didn’t really like it. In fact I hated it. It was about that time that my dad wanted to get out of the family business and do something else and I wanted to come back.”
A.C. Hoyt Hardware has been through so many changes in the way hardware business is conducted. Gone are the days in Edmeston when the community could support two hardware stores.
“People come in to buy more necessities now, not so much extra stuff, there is not as much money now as there used to be,” Hoyt said. “We sell good product and we are able to serve our customers. How many times have you gone into Home Depot or Lowes and found the guys in the shirts only to find out they don’t even know where stuff is much less how stuff works. We are able to advise customers about the best way to manage costs and how to get the most for their money.”
A.C. Hoyt is the only hardware store for miles around Edmeston. The closest Home Depot, Lowe’s or Walmart is 30 miles away.
“We do a good business, and we have great customers,” Jamison Hoyt said. “But I’ll tell you this, we have not had a single customer on Black Friday for five years. They all go out of town to shop.”
A.C. Hoyt employs three members of the Hoyt family as well as a part time bookkeeper. In addition boards, nails, pipes and tools, they offer an array of home and garden products including gloves and hats, greeting cards and incidental items. They also service small engines, remake windows and frames for antique structures and have sold Benjamin Morris products since the paint company began.