Located in Seattle’s lively University District, Hardwick’s is more than just your neighborhood hardware store. Dealing in standard items like green garden hoses and flathead screwdrivers to Japanese pruning saws and Italian riffler rasps, Hardwick’s has earned a reputation for having the right tools for the job. But if you look beyond the aisles of hard-to-find augers and one-of-a-kind hand drills, you’ll find that while the shop sells hardware, tools and more, family is the bedrock of business at Hardwick’s.
A Seattle institution for nearly eight decades, Hardwick’s is currently in its fourth generation of family members manning the shop. Business dates back to the days of the Great Depression when Charles Dean Hardwick set up shop in 1932 after losing his real estate company in the market crash. The shop was originally a secondhand store and Charles used his own office furniture as the store’s original inventory. He also purchased and sold used goods from customers and stocked factory seconds and damaged freight from Milwaukee Railroad and Union Pacific Railroad.
A few years later his son, Dean Ernest Hardwick, opened up a second location at the current site (On the Roosevelt & 42nd corner). The two stores were consolidated in 1938 after Dean enlisted in the military during World War II and father and son ran the business together until Charles retired in the late 1940s. After his father, Charles, retired, Dean taught his three sons the ways of the shop. With Dean Ernest passing in 1976. His oldest, Bill, started 1972 full time and the youngest by 10 years Dean James Hardwick, joined in 1974.
The two brothers ran the shop together until Bill’s passing in 2017 and now Dean oversees the day-to-day operations of the store.