Hardware Store Solutions for Palisades Residents
By JOHN BEAVER
Special to Circling the News
With the recent closures of Norris Hardware, Orchard Supply Hardware, and Busy Bee Hardware, I decided to do my own study and determine which was the best hardware store to go to. Over the past month I visited the following hardware stores and here is what I learned.
(All distances are from the Palisades Village and times were calculated with Google maps at 10:30 on an average Thursday morning).
Fisher is affiliated with “Do It Best,” the same brand Norris was affiliated with, so they have pretty much the same items as Norris; except they carry more brands and have more inventory and choices then Norris did. The employees I met were caring and helpful and seemed to have decent knowledge. The lumber section is small but will fit most homeowners’ needs. They are also the closest location to the Palisades which is a huge benefit. During high traffic periods, you can cut through Santa Monica and still get there in a reasonable amount of time.
NEGATIVE: If you were used to Norris, you will be disappointed in their paint department. Since they are in Santa Monica, they are prevented from operating a table saw (another random Santa Monica law), so if you need a sheet of plywood cut down to a specific size or to fit into your vehicle, they can’t do it. Fortunately they do carry a nice selection of half and quarter sheets to solve that problem.
POSITIVE: Best place to go if you need something quickly.
6.0 Miles, 16 Minutes
Lincoln Hardware is affiliated with True Value and seems to be a typical True Value hardware store. In my opinion that leaves them with the fewest choices of product and the lowest quality.
NEGATIVE: I found the employees here to be indifferent and lacking knowledge. I asked if they had a certain item, and the gentleman said “here’s what we have” and walked away. “Here’s what we have” did not include the item I was looking for. And you thought Norris employees were grumpy?
POSITIVE: The parking lot is ample and easy to access.
7.4 Miles, 18 minutes (Can take 45 minutes or more if you leave after 2 p.m. on a week day)
Anawalt is a small chain consisting of four stores in the Los Angeles area. The advantage of being independent is they are not beholden to a larger corporation for purchasing decisions, and as such carry more variety and higher-end brands than Fisher and Lincoln. The hardware store is large and well stocked. They rent a nice assortment of tools as well. They also have a pretty good selection of lumber and home building materials, although they were missing a few things I thought they should have carried.
NEGATIVE: The parking lot is small and tight and there is often a wait for a parking spot.
POSITIVE: The employees I dealt with were fairly knowledgeable and willing to help, though a few required a little more prompting then others. Best choice if you want to avoid Home Depot, especially on Sundays as Fisher and Bourget Bros. are both closed on Sunday.
Anawalt, 3730 Cross Creek Road, Malibu:
10.9 Miles, 22 Minutes
If you feel like driving north instead of south you won’t be disappointed with Malibu Anawalt. They appear to have an equal sized hardware department as their West L.A. store, but it’s hard to tell because it’s spread out among five different buildings/sheds. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, make sure to ask, as it’s probably in a room you haven’t found yet; but chances are high it’s in there somewhere.
POSITIVE: If you’re looking for garden supplies, lumber, or building supplies, I would say they have the largest selection on the Westside, behind Home Depot. The employees are knowledgeable and willing to help. If you haven’t been here, it’s on Cross Creek Road just past the Malibu Country Mart. Best choice if you want to avoid eastbound traffic, and a good choice either way.
4.4 Miles, 14 Minutes.
Known for their stone and rocks, Bourget Bros. hardware store has a very limited paint department, only a smattering of lumber, and does not really carry household goods like lightbulbs or door mats or holiday decorations; but if you are looking for construction-grade hardware and tools, this is the place to go. Their selection of nails, screws, sandpaper, building materials, drill bits, hand tools, pipe fittings, etc., rivals Home Depot, and is often of better quality. It’s probably not the place to go if you’re looking for decorative items, but if you call yourself a professional, or you’re getting into a project that your wife thinks is above your skill level, this would be a good place to start. To make it even better, the employees seem to have a knowledge and willingness to help that matches the selection and quality of inventory.
POSITIVE: They have a tool repair and sharpening service. Depending on traffic you can get there via PCH and I-10, through Santa Monica Canyon or across 26th street.
NEGATIVE: Best choice for professionals and contractors.
Anderson Plywood, 4020 Sepulveda, Culver City:
9.3 Miles, 22 Minutes
If you are a woodworker, Anderson Plywood has an amazing selection of plywood, a decent selection of hardwoods, and a limited but high-quality selection of woodworking tools and accessories. If you are not a woodworker, there isn’t much here for you.
8.9 Miles, 28 Minutes (normally for me about 35 minutes)
What can I say? I don’t love going to Home Depot, I don’t love trying to find things there, I don’t love parking there, but sometimes you just have to go there. Their selection and choices are amazing, and no one can beat their prices. Unfortunately, this store is no longer open 24/7, but they are open until 11 p.m. for those late-night projects, and their automated checkout helps the wait time tremendously.
NEGATIVE and POSITIVE: I prefer to support local establishments, but I know if I need something, Home Depot will have it, and sometimes it’s worth just going there directly rather than hoping one of the other stores will have that item you’re looking for. I find their employees to be hit-or-miss on their knowledge, but they usually know where things are, which is very important.
Note: If you are buying something with multiple parts, and the package looks like it’s been opened, check it carefully. They have a very liberal return policy and often people buy something, take out the part they need and then return it.
amazon.com (used as a reference for all online shopping)
A trip to Home Depot and back takes me about two hours, and costs about $5 in gas. An Amazon Prime membership now costs $119 per year but often they can even deliver items the same day. Not counting travel time, it can be cheaper to order from Amazon than driving to a store. When Norris Hardware was in Pacific Palisades, I would always try them first, but now with the travel time and gas expenses, and the fact that there’s no Palisades business to support, I think Amazon and other online retailers will be getting a lot more business.