We just lost a classic hardware store in town. Chicago Wholesale Hardware and Jobbing closes the doors forever at 5pm. It's been there is some form for close to if not 100 years.
The layout is standard for an old school place with some stuff out front and the rest is in the back and you need to ask for it- and without fail they have it.
They back rooms were open to the public and the stuff they had hidden away was quite interesting. My score over the past few days were a variety of machinest tools, "new" in the boxes including a set of Starrett hole guages of each size picked out of "new" master cartons, B&S tools, Helios vernier calipers, the little calipers down to 2" (General). There was a large amount of Lufkin tools, all many decades old. I've not even sorted though the haul, but it was nice to rescue some really well made, and really old tools from wrecking ball. Some of the "newer" looking tools were from Vaco, a company Klein bought in the mid 1980s.
The attention to detail in these older tools puts to shame lots of the new tools. Even the sets of calipers and telescoping hole guages from General (the company that still sells acceptable grade center punches and scribes these days) would be considered works of art compared to what's being churned out now.
The owner and employees seem happy enough, and the closing is a "retirement sale" so they'll have things to do next.