Deb Abraham Spalding
The new and former owners at Hobbs Hardware and Lumber in Thurmont invite the general public and general contractors to, “Come on In!”
In a time where small businesses everywhere are struggling to maintain a grasp on viability, it’s even more rare to find a successful small hardware store that is still thriving in the face of big-box hardware store competition. Hobbs Hardware is THAT rarity!
Hobbs Hardware recently became Hobbs Hardware and Lumber when it was purchased by Structural LLC. Structural is a commercial business located in Thurmont, where they have 50 acres of lumber. Voila! With this transition, Scott Austin, CEO of Structural, accomplished several goals: He expanded the product line at Hobbs, he brought a backbone of contract business that allowed pricing to become competitive with the big-box hardware store pricing, and he proudly maintained the historical integrity of the business by continuing the name and employing its heritage with Eddie and Mike Hobbs manning the store. Austin said, “They [Eddie and Mike] are the brains, they have all of the experience.”
The Hobbs family has a deep history in the community. The family purchased the hardware store in 1942 from Sam Long, who had already logged 40 years in the Thurmont business. According to John Kinnaird and courtesy of ThurmontImages.com, “The hardware store has been in the Hobbs family for four generations: Edward G. Hobbs and Louise F. Hobbs (Eddie and Mike’s dad and mom) had the hardware store and a grocery store, E. Guy Hobbs and Lillian Hobbs (Eddie and Mike’s grandparents who bought the grocery and hardware stores in 1942.) Eddie and Mike Hobbs stepped in in high school and have kept it going since.”
Hobbs Hardware has occupied other locations in Thurmont but has been in the current location at 15 E. Main Street since 1981.
Scott Austin is originally from Buffalo, New York, but lives in New Market, Maryland, now. He’s been the owner of Structural LLC since 2010. Structural Systems has been in business since 1992.
Austin eyed up the Hobbs Hardware business to complement a need within the Structural business to add residential products. They were getting a lot of requests for lumber and didn’t have a way of selling lumber because they are manufacturing it. The solution was to keep the hardware part at Hobbs and to merge the lumber there.
Austin said, “It is a partnership, and they work very well together. We are here to service the community through our hardware store, and we are continuing to grow the Hobbs tradition.”
Eddie and Mike Hobbs are joined by several new faces, General Manager Rob Baker and Chad Crane.
Hobbs Hardware and Lumber is a handyman’s playland with lumber, lots of power tools, and tons of contractor-friendly inventory. Residents, small builders, and contractors are welcome to shop at Hobbs to get lumber for basements, decks, additions, etc. Hobbs delivers as far as Northern Virginia, actually up to 100 miles away!
Hobbs is open 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday; and 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. Call 301-271-2233 for product inquiries and more information.
Pictured from left are Eddie Hobbs, Scott Austin, Mike Hobbs, and Chad Crane at the new checkout counter at Hobbs Hardware and Lumber in Thurmont.
Hobbs Hardware store in 1980.