Business

New owners of beloved Clinton hardware store plan few changes

Becky and David Bell are the new owners of Jim’s Hardware in Clinton. Apart from some new stock items, they plan to keep the same down-home atmosphere that Jim Harwell created at the store over the past 35 years. - Jeff VanDerford / The Record
Becky and David Bell are the new owners of Jim’s Hardware in Clinton. Apart from some new stock items, they plan to keep the same down-home atmosphere that Jim Harwell created at the store over the past 35 years.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford / The Record

CLINTON — When David and Becky Bell, the new owners of Jim’s Hardware, were working on their plan to buy the longtime Clinton business, they knew one thing for sure. They were going to make as few changes as possible.

The choice was easy to make, because they were following a legend. Jim Harwell, a Clinton fixture and owner of Jim’s Hardware, passed away in February after a short bout with cancer.

Harwell owned the store for the past 35 years and was considered an institution by friends and customers, alike.

Customers like the Bells.

“I remember many times going into the store and holding up something in my hand,” Bell recalled. “Jim would yell, ‘Top shelf in the back, on the right!’”

That kind of down-home friendliness is the spirit the Bells want to preserve.

Longtime residents of South Whidbey, the Bells invite everyone to come and visit the store this weekend, meet many of the same employees and have a cup of coffee while they browse the aisles.

“I laid awake at night thinking about doing this,” David Bell said. “So far, everyone has been very supportive.”

At the store, the shelves have been restocked and there is something for everyone among the narrow, old-fashioned yet clean walkways filled with hardware.

Jim’s Hardware features every type of hardware, from sports equipment to garden needs, from shelf brackets to crab pots.

“We will still have that exact ‘widget’ that you need,” Bell said. “You never know what you might find at Jim’s Hardware.”

There are knives, night lights, dry wall studs, arrows and bows, rain hats, fishing nets, dog treats, emergency radios, school supplies, toasters, model cars, work clothes, oil cans and everything connected with home improvement.

“We plan on making sure that Jim’s legacy will be maintained,” Bell said. “We look forward to keeping old friends and making new ones.”

Bell managed Freeland’s Holly Farm for a number of years and his wife Becky is a licensed insurance agent working for Damian Greene.

During the Clinton Mayfest weekend, the new owners hope contractors, home builders and the general public will stop by the store to enter their name in a drawing for some great garden products.

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