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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Aid Hardware will close its doors in June

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Days Gone By: A photo taken in the 1950s shows what was then Short's Hardware. Photo/submitted
A Salem institution will be closing its doors after 60 years of business. Aid True Value Hardware on the courthouse square will close by the end of June. Owner Toney Aid said he plans to pursue other business interests.

The store sells a wide variety of goods, harkening back to the days of the classic American general store. It sells gardening supplies, hunting supplies and, of course, hardware.

Aid bought the business from Charlie and Irene Short in 1987. Charlie Short opened the hardware store in 1946 after returning from World War II, said his wife, Irene Short. Short served in the Navy from 1944-46.

The hardware store shared the building with a dry goods and grocery business that had occupied the building, which Short's mother, Retie Short, owned. The hardware store later moved into the part of the building in which the dry goods and groceries were sold.

The Shorts operated the business for 40 years, hiring many employees, including Dixie Harris in 1981 and Emery King in 1980. Both worked there when the store switched hands to Aid. King managed the store for the first 15 years of Aid's ownership while Harris kept the books.

House Cleaning: Emery King does some cleaning in Aid True Value Hardware May 27 during a slow period of business. King has been working at Aid since 1981. Photo/Price
Aid bought the business after Charlie Short had a stroke. Aid said he tried to live up to Retie Short's motto of "a good store in a good town." Aid said Charlie Short wanted the store to continue service and to ensure his long-time employees had jobs, so he contacted Aid. Aid said his family had been running hardware stores since 1885. "I had two other hardware stores at the time," Aid said.

In 1995 he hired Misti Robinson, who became the manager of the store after King retired. Part-time employee Jack Mars has been working at the store 2 1/2 years, mostly on weekends.

"We enjoyed coming to Salem. Things slowed down a little," Aid said. Aid said he came to Salem every Thursday to do bookwork, fill out orders and get sales ready. "I'm amazed at the culture difference of just 30 miles," he said. He resides in West Plains.

"The people I worked with always made it enjoyable. Just running the store helped a lot of people in Salem," Aid said.

Aid's new business interest is renovating older buildings, modernizing the electricity and plumbing. He has restored 13 buildings, four on the National Register of Historic Places, in West Plains. "It takes up a lot of time," Aid said.

Modern DAy: Aid True Value Hardware has changed since 1946. Photo/Price
King's retirement has not been full time. He still helps out at the store. He said after the store closes, he will go back to being retired. Mars said he will also go back to being retired.

Robinson said she will go find a new job since she is too young to retire.

The closing sale for Aid Hardware starts June 1. Aid said the store will be liquidating its inventory and hopes everything will be sold by June 24, though he said the sale will continue until everything is gone.

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