A couple of days ago I went to the Crest Hardware, a family owned hardware store, which operates since 1962. It is located at 558 Metropolitan ave, in Williamsburg, just one minute walk from the “Lorimer St.” subway station of the L train. A friend of mine, who lives in the area, recommended this store, because “they have flowers too”. It was a strange recommendation, but I decided to go anyway, just to see what does a hipster hardware store look like. Actually, I was expecting to see something fancy, but I’ve never expected my visit to be that entertaining.
As I said above, the store was very easy to find: because of its red color, it will be the first thing you’ll see after getting out of the subway. Also, there are a lot of eye-catching potted flowers in front of it, as well as two sandwich boards with announcements. The first one acknowledges that there is a big garden on the back of the store, whereas another is much more mysterious: it simply says that “Franklin is in”. A big flying pig is painted on one of the store’s windows (as I found out later, its name is Cupig). Also, there are two untypical for a hardware store stickers on the door, which say that this place is very much liked on both Yelp and Foursquare.
The store is pretty spacious inside: it has 6 aisles of merchandise, small room with lumber on the right, separate areas for plumbing, hardware and locksmith, and awesome indoor and outdoor garden sections.
Things in the store are very easy to find, because everything is labeled and there are a lot of signs on the walls, although it’s hard to say what type of hardware the store is best at. It has a little bit of everything: lumber and iron, plumbing, electrical, hand and power tools, paints and sprays, chemicals. There is also some weird stuff like a 24″ crescent wrench, tape measure suspenders, 36″ mattock, huge selection of manila rope and casters, or my new “game-of-throne-ish” red knee pads.
As for the staff, everyone is very friendly, but no one is really rushing to help you. The key guy asked me if I need something, or “just browsing”. Another guy, who noticed that we are taking pictures, asked if we saw the parrot and the pig. After seeing a huge question mark in my eyes, he said that we have to go to the garden center right now.
The store’s garden center has two sections: indoor with houseplants, and backyard with a small garden. Besides different kinds of plants in the indoor section, there is a big African grey parrot that whistles at customers.
But the real icon of the Crest Hardware lives in the backyard. His name is Franklin, he is a pot-bellied pig and a Facebook public figure. And he is probably the primary thing that makes the store stand out. When he “is in”, of course.