Co-owner Bill Hardwick, third generation, worked at "Hardwick's" for many years. Bill was instrumental in transforming the business the last 46 years, it would not be as it is today without him for all those years. First and foremost we have had great blessings and thankfulness that our father passed on the business to his sons 41 years ago. We are going to continue "Hardwick’s", and it will always be known as "Hardwick & Sons" in honor of our father and my brother.
Born in Astoria, Oregon in 1944, William Hardwick (Bill) was the eldest of three children. He was a pretty smart fellow, focused and disciplined, and he would always win at games like Scrabble. He attained a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and then was drafted in the Army. He scored high on the entrance exam and was offered an extra year to go to air missile radar school. On overseas duty, while defending the Panama Canal, he tested for his MOS (Military Occupation Service). Incredibly, he achieved the highest score ever, and was mentioned in Army newspaper ‘Stars and Stripes’. Bill put in a request to go to Vietnam but he was denied as he was deemed too valuable, so he commissioned to teach at the school of his MOS, in Ft. Bliss, El Paso, Texas.
Within a month after returning to Seattle (after his service offered a job with Raytheon in Massachusetts (eventual maker of the Patriot missile, that defended Israel in the Iraq conflict)) his father had a heart attack. Bill promised Dad that he would run the business until his father got back on his feet. Bill never left and Dad got well again.
Together, they ran the family business and Dad complemented Bill’s ability to buy used items from individuals. Bill had a methodical, calm style when he carefully told the seller what we need to do for the business and why he had to pay a certain amount for their items. This is how Hardwick’s became known as the “Swap Shop”.
Bill came to enjoy the work because it was hands-on and different everyday. Since, in essence, he was his own boss/manager he could test different ideas and concepts.
I joined Bill in ’74 and together we built the business with more emphasis on tools for the trades and the name slowly morphed from Swap Shop to Hardwick’s. The next 13 out of 15 years had an increase of 20% per year. This would would not have been possible without Bill, the shear stress and volume of one person to handle the organized chaos and do improvements would be difficult at best.
In a recent Seattle PI article mentioning current difficulties with the gentrification of Seattle and the lack of affordability of tradesmen to live here, the heading of the article read, “Beloved Hardwick’s”. Bill was more than integral to that phrase. Rest in Peace.
- Dean Hardwick (Brother)