"There Are No Strangers Here, Just Friends We Haven't Met!"
First established in 1920 as Cole Street Hardware and later purchased in 1959 by Dave Karp, Cole Hardware soon transformed into becoming an iconic symbol of San Francisco. As years progressed and expansion seemed like a great idea, Cole Hardware spread to four additional locations throughout the city.
Eventually Rick Karp, son of Dave Karp, took the business over and continued to strive for its' community-focused mission ( "Our commitment to you. Your satisfaction guaranteed. Period."). Rick is a 2nd generation San Franciscan and grew up in the Haight-Ashbury area. While many see him simply as the current President of Cole Hardware, he decided to give himself a more individualized title, "The Keeper of the Karma." Well, the karma of Cole Hardware is good, really good. Rick is always making it the best place to work and the best place for the community. Rick calls it, "whatever it takes for positive dinner conversation," or basically anyway to bring the mission of the company to the people. Cole Hardware is all about, "giving back to the community, having a local mission and caring about the customers and employees."
Along with maintaining its' mission, the company also strives for environmental excellence. Rick stated that Cole Hardware was one of the first businesses to receive its' green certification, so it definitely has a 'green thing' going. While the company is deeply committed to environmental sustainability, The Keeper of the Karma says that it is also about educating the public on green issues and buying green products; all stores have a green section with sustainable alternatives for every day household items.
So they got your green products, your every day tools and your household items but did you know that Cole Hardware has a large selection of planting tools and live plants?! That's right folks, the hardware store has an extensive greenhouse in the back. Lucky for us, the Cole Street store has the largest selection (since 1984); other stores have plants near the front door. The green house has an array of live plants, seeds, bird feeders, pots and so much more, you really just need to go there and see for yourself!
Want to know another secret of Cole Hardware? Okay, guess we'll tell you. Cole Hardware has a very vibrant and active home repair service, Re-Cole-Mend. Rick says it offers the, "golden handshake of customer service." What's great about the service is that it's like a huge local resource to find a repair-person for practically anything you need fixing, from drywall projects to paint jobs and beyond! Be sure to check out the company's Re-Cole-Mend for a repair-person for your next or current repair job!
While the other stores are unique and great in their own right, we wanted to focus on the Cole Valley neighborhood, so we gave Rick a very difficult question: What aspect of Cole Valley do you like? "The diversity of the people...people with different passions, perspectives, cultures and religions. It hasn't become yuppified or gentrified" like other neighborhoods in San Francisco. "Businesses are the fabric of the community," asserted Rick. Businesses are indeed the fabric of the community, and we, the Cole Valley residents, are so lucky to live in such an amazingly diverse neighborhoods with businesses that strive to stay local and community-focused. Cole Hardware, you are truly a gem of our community, don't ever change!
Cole Fox: 70 4th Street
Weekdays 8-7:30pm, Weekends 9-5:30pm
Cole Street: 956 Cole Street
Weekdays 7-7:30pm, Weekends 8-7pm
Polk Street: 2254 Polk Street
Weekdays 8-8pm, Weekends 9-7pm
Mission Street: 3312 Mission Street
Weekdays 7-7:30pm, Weekends 8-7pm
Watch some awesome videos on Cole Hardware stores' Yelp pages!