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If He Had a Hammer

Vienna resident Justin Stalcup opens hardware store.

J.C. Smith likes to walk places, which is why he’s happy that Vienna has a new hardware store. "It’s good to have a local place," said Smith, the second customer at the new Stalcup Hardware on Maple Avenue. "I’ve been eagerly awaiting them opening."

Justin Stalcup, the store’s owner, has lived in Vienna for 18 years and has spent a few of them thinking about putting in a store. "I’ve been looking over here for four years," he said.

"It was fun to see the truck out there again," said Jane Anzilotti referring to the antique delivery trucks now parked in the Glyndon Shopping Center.

Stalcup’s family has been a fixture on the McLean business landscape since his father opened a vegetable stand in the 1960. "I worked there since I was 8 years old," Stalcup said.

The Stalcup General Store in McLean is going to close to start the Vienna location, but he does hope to re-open the McLean location in the future.

The new location is also continuing the tradition of the family business. Stalcup’s children, Justin, 13 and Alexis, 9, have both worked at the old store and will again at the new one. "Alexis used to stand on two phone books and use the cash register," Stalcup said. She has a personal record of having rung up $1,000 in sales in one day.

His children, Stalcup said, enjoy working at the store, and seeing their name on the business. "My daughter couldn’t wait for the sign to go up," he said.

VIENNA HAS seen other hardware stores close in recent years, but Stalcup thinks the time is right for a new store. "Things are changing in that people don’t want to go to Home Depot if they don’t have to," he said.

He also hopes to have a more diverse product line than those other stores. "Other stores don’t sell the things we sell," he said, noting that the store cuts keys and sells McCutcheon’s jellies, not typically found in a hardware store.

Stalcup also acknowledges that he won’t be able to compete with Home Depot on prices of some items. But, he hopes to allow residents to go a store closer to where they live. "If you’re going to save $2, but it will cost you that much in gas," Stalcup said. He is also hoping to get some business from local contractors doing remodeling jobs who need to purchase a small item.

Stalcup hopes to carve out a niche for himself as a garden center, in addition to hardware. In McLean, his store sells produce grown on a family-owned farm on Kirby Road. "We’re one of the few hardware stores known for its tomatoes," Stalcup said.

His main expertise, Stalcup said, is in gardening. About half of the store is devoted to gardening products, and he hopes to offer a selection of flowers and produce soon.

His gardening experience will coordinate with a trend Stalcup says he has noticed over his years in the business. Years ago, he said, people didn’t care for their lawns as much as they do now. In the past, it was just grass and some bushes. "You wouldn’t see any mulch around the bushes," said Stalcup.

The store’s manager, Les Neil, helps with advice on the other side of the store where the tools are located. Neil has worked in the hardware business for 30 years. "I always say Les can fix everything because he’s broken everything," Stalcup said.

The McLean location, he said, had become known for its selection of nuts and bolts. The store stocks about $20,000 in nuts and bolts, many of which sell for less that 40 cents a piece.

Stalcup Hardware is located at 229 Maple Ave., E., next to Jammin’ Java. Phone 703-255-2515. Open 8 a.m.-7 p.m. daily, but the store may close a bit earlier on Sundays.