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Sebastopol Hardware's History

For chicken rancher Bob Pforsich, Sebastopol’s two hardware stores and three lumber yards just didn’t cut it.  He found himself making two or three trips a day sometimes to get what he needed from hardware stores in Santa Rosa.  So Bob and his brother Harry, a hardware manufacturer’s rep, started Sebastopol Hardware Center in 1965.

The aim was a one-stop shop.  A single store that had what you needed or could get it for you. Hardware, plumbing and electrical supplies were sold along with hay, feed and sporting goods.  Bob’s motto: “You can’t sell from an empty wagon”. 

Bob did the creative work in the store including thinking up our wonderful ‘old tool’ logo.  He merchandised and worked on promotions.  Super Saturday (where everything is 20% off the first Saturday of every month) began as a city-wide promotion in the 70’s.  It lasted one Saturday for everyone else, but the Pforsichs saw what a great business-builder it was and the Super Saturday tradition continues to this day.

Old timers still refer to us as ‘Smile Hardware’.  Bob’s dad thought the store should be a happy place to be, so ‘Smile’ was first painted inside the store in big red letters and then mounted on a tower outside.

Bob and Harry sold Sebastopol Hardware to Jack and Marilyn Jones in 1980.  The Joneses had always loved the Sebastopol area and were delighted to move from Dublin where they had owned Parkway Ace Hardware.  Jack and Marilyn quickly rearranged and expanded the store, adding the garden room and a lot of merchandise.

Mark Sell, ex-manager of the Sebastopol branch of Bank of America, came on board in 1989 as a partner.  The store became an increasingly interesting and fun place to shop.  In 2002 in the middle of a large addition to our building and conversion to computers, Mike Bishop came to help.  He is now our general manager and an owner as well.