At the end of 2009, Nazareth Hardware closed its doors to the public, leaving area residents without a local place to buy their nuts and bolts.
What was once known as a Nazareth staple had closed its doors.
But on April 15, 2011, clouds parted and sunbeams shone down on 49 S. Main St., where Nazareth Hometown Hardware opened its doors -- nuts, bolts and all -- in the same location as the original Nazareth Hardware.
“This was the original hardware store when I was a little girl, back when Warren Dech owned it 44 years ago,” said Barbara Werkheiser, co-owner of Nazareth Hometown Hardware.
Werkheiser added that Dech himself stepped in to help her and fellow co-owner Mike Meixsell open their store.
And, in fact, all of the shelving units are from the original -- kept in great condition over the past several decades.
"We did a lot of scrubbing," Werkheiser joked.
The store -- which offers everything from rakes to mailboxes to lawn and garden items -- was opened through the combined efforts of Werkheiser and Meixsell, both longtime Nazareth residents.
According to Meixsell, it was originally Werkheiser’s idea. She, in turn, "blames" Meixsell’s know-how for inspiring her decision.
“Downtown was empty," Werkheiser explained. "It really bothered me to see all those empty buildings. [Meixsell] can’t cook, so I figured we’d go with the guy's strong suit and open a hardware store.”
Once the final decision was made, it took 16 months to get the store ready for the public. But, in the end, the duo's hard work paid off.
According to Meixsell, several local businesses have opened accounts, largely Main Street store owners.
And, so far, the locals are enjoying their new nearby hardware store.
“We get that guy four blocks away who’s ripping up his shower and needs something right away and says, ‘Thank God you’re here,’” Werkheiser said.
And being Nazareth residents has its advantages -- the owners already know many of their customers.
“And if we don’t know them, they know us,” Meixsell joked.
Both owners still maintain their respective careers -- Werkheiser works as the chief claims consultant for Guardian Life Insurance, and Meixsell is the maintenance supervisor at Moravian Hall Square.
While Patch was interviewing the owners, a situation presented itself that quickly brought to light why they added "hometown" to the name.
A young man walked in looking for a specific size of washer. He needed one that would fit his dirtbike, and he’d already tried another store with no success.
Werkheiser walked him to the aisle, and Meixsell helped him find the right size. When the man brought the washer up to the counter to pay, both owners said, “Don’t worry about it.”
The man -- surprised -- thanked them both and left, but not before promising to return when he needed other supplies.
It’s that type of service and benevolence that will allow Nazareth's new staple -- Nazareth Hometown Hardware -- to thrive.
The store's hours of operations are Monday through Friday, 7am to 7pm; Saturday, 8am to 4pm, and Sunday, 8am to 2pm.
The store is also open on holidays from 8am to 2pm.