Steve Schaefer has never known a day without Meyer Hardware. His grandfather, Joe Meyer, purchased the store he would rename after himself in 1945, several years before Steve was even born. But …
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Steve Schaefer has never known a day without Meyer Hardware.
His grandfather, Joe Meyer, purchased the store he would rename after himself in 1945, several years before Steve was even born. But Steve joined him there as soon as he could.
“I started here when I was 10 years old,” Steve said. “After school, I'd walk across the creek and come over here and clean the bathrooms and mop the floor and put different things together like tricycles and wheelbarrows.”
But now, after 56 years of working at the store, including 25 as its president after he took over for his own parents, Harold and Marilyn Schaefer, Steve said the time has come for him to move on. So Meyer Hardware is slated to close for good at the end of September.
“I'm just tired and that's strictly it,” said Steve. “I'm almost 67 and I've really been kind of married to the store so it's time to rekindle my marriage with my wife and spend more time with my family and my nine grandchildren.”
While Steve said he feels strongly that now is the right time to move on, he said the decision to close has been a “deeply emotional one.” He had originally hoped to find a buyer for the business. Although he did have several conversations with people who expressed some initial interest, he never found a viable buyer.
“It is disappointing to not be able to continue the legacy,” he said.
The family's ownership of the store lasted three generations. However, Golden historian Richard Gardner said the store's history actually dates back to 1892 when William Mark Sarell opened a hardware store called Sarell & Dawson at what is now 1116 Ford St.
When Sarell retired in 1940 after 74 years of owning businesses in Golden, he passed the store to his son who sold it a few years later. The business would then change owners three more times before being purchased by Meyer, who had previously owned feed and hardware stores in Nebraska for several years.
The store's present home at 1103 Arapahoe St. was built in 1973.
In the days since the news of the store's closing began to circulate, Goldenites have greeted the impending end of Meyer's with both sadness and smiles as they remember the beloved store that many of them have been visiting for decades.
Melissa Moss said she will always remember going to the store to pick out a gift to give to an elderly nursing home resident as part of an annual activity at Fairmount Elementary School.
“Each year my mom would take me to pick out a little knick knack from upstairs,” she said. “Usually it was a little porcelain bird or a small decorative plate. I loved going there.”
Christi Lightcap Fortune said that she will remember Meyer Hardware as a place where “we could always find whatever we needed — and lots of stuff we didn't realize we needed on the top floor.”
“We would always wander through there for the pure enjoyment of seeing new kitchen gadgets,” she said in a Facebook comment about the store.
Another commenter, Connor Krause, said he enjoyed many visits to the store with his cocker spaniel, Ozzy, and made sure to take him through the aisles one more time before he died in May.
“[I] will miss it dearly, it is such a pillar of authenticity to what Golden stood for and a friendly reminder each time I would be in there (or even just pass by) of the embodiment of the simple things that gave me the first true feeling of `home' from a community,” he wrote.
He then added “you better believe I'm coming in for my last trip just as Ozzy got his.”
Many residents took to social media to bemoan the impact of development on the store, with some questioning whether the store was going out of business because of competition from Home Depot or other big box stores.
However, Steve said the decision was driven solely by his desire to retire and not the big box stores or the pandemic.
When asked what he will miss most about the store, Steve mentioned his employees, many of whom have worked at the store for decades.
Among them is manager Craig Sarensen, who has worked at the store for 36 years and is also planning to retire in a few years. Steve's brother, James, has also worked at the store for 49 years and will be retiring once it closes.
Then, of course, there are the decades of customers.
“Without the Golden community supporting us over the years we wouldn't have been able to make it this long,” he said. “So thank you to everyone. You people could have gone anywhere else and they came here.”
[Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story misstated the name of William Mark Sarell. This error has been corrected.]
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