Kreykes hardware store … through all the circling years …

On my recent trip to my mother’s hometown in Iowa, I couldn’t help but feel a little nostalgic for my childhood summer visits there. As I looked through the colorful photos I was taking last week of the Dutch dancers, parade floats, and marching bands during the town’s annual Tulip Festival, I noticed several of the photos had in the background the same fairly standard, crisply painted Dutch-front building … with the name Radio Shack across the front. This might otherwise be unremarkable to me, but for the fact that from roughly the mid-1950s to the early 1970s, this same building housed my grandparents’ hardware store. I got to reminiscing and decided to take a modern photo of the building (below), without the festival crowds (which wasn’t easy), and to peer briefly through the window. Although the outside of the building has changed with the rest of downtown, on the inside, the size and shape were much as I remembered.

My strongest memory of the hardware store is when my sister and I visited as kids one summer … and our grandmother allowed us to use a device she kept on the front counter to make decorative bows for packages. It involved folding a ribbon various ways across a prong in the middle of the device. I’d always assumed she sold the bows in the store, but as I reminisced last week, my aunt filled in some details. She said our grandmother used the bows to gift-wrap purchases in the store and that she especially enjoyed gift-wrapping for children who came in to buy gifts for their parents. Mother says that, in addition to hardware, the store also sold a few dishes, small appliances, and other gift items.

Today the traditional striped awning is gone, and lighted letters in the front window proclaim the store’s new and inevitable task: “Computers & Repair.” A picture of a smartphone is prominently displayed. My memories of the hardware store are brief and somewhat sparse — we lived in another state and I don’t think I spent a lot of time there — but those memories are also pleasant and comforting.  Perhaps the store is making similar memories for someone else today. And perhaps contemporary children in Orange City still come in to buy gifts for their parents. I suspect they do …

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This entry was posted in IOWA (ALL), IOWA (Sioux County), Kreykes, THINGS OUR ANCESTORS DID and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Kreykes hardware store … through all the circling years …

  1. I, too, have fond childhood memories of hardware stores. My brother and I once purchased four golden colored drinking glasses at Marquardt’s Hardware Store in my hometown of Vesta, Minnesota, for our mother as a Mother’s Day gift. Recently my mother gave me those glasses and every time I use one, I think of that hardware store. Thanks for bringing back such warm memories via your post. I love the look of your grandparents’ old hardware store; what Radio Shack has done with it, not so much.

    • ljhlaura says:

      It’s wonderful that those glasses can still provoke those warm family memories for you. Such is the power of our childhood memories, I guess. And there is just something about those old-fashioned hardware stores…. The building where my grandparents’ once had their store is now very much in keeping with the rest of the thriving town’s spruced-up downtown, and it still seems to provoke those comforting memories for me. Perhaps one year you can make it there for Tulip Festival! 🙂

  2. Brett Kreykes says:

    Hello! My name is Brett Kreykes. I was given a bubble level this week with “Kreykes – Hardware and Gifts Orange City, Iowa” on it. My parents never heard of it, but my grandfather did. I searched the Internet and came across your post. Neat! If you’d like to see a picture of the bubble level, I’d be more than happy to send it to you.

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