Out to Lunch with Peter Neily
Today’s Out To Lunch guest is Ed Casella. We are off to Boston Pizza in Aurora for a quick bite and then back to Ed’s Hardware for an interesting look around his shop. I first met Ed several years ago while selling at the Port Perry Antique Show and since then have purchased hard-to-find vintage hardware from him that I needed to complete restorations. He always seems to have what I need.
Peter: Thanks for meeting with me Ed. Do you remember the first time we met?
Ed: Yes I do. You were selling a vintage carpenter’s box at an antique show and I informed you that it had the wrong hardware on it. You ended up selling the box anyway and I ended up buying several leaded glass windows from you.
Peter: Your shop is amazing and you do have thousands of hard-to-find vintage hardware pieces. How did this whole thing get started?
Ed: It all started when I was refinishing some furniture for a friend and I needed to find some brass pulls to complete the job properly. I couldn’t find anything locally, so I took off with my wife, Susan, and we ended up buying pieces we liked, along with the pulls I needed. We have been searching and buying ever since.
Peter: How did you know how much to pay for pieces?
Ed: At first, we didn’t and I’m sure we made a few mistakes, but over time we learned and basically bought what we liked hoping other people would see the value that we did. I don’t buy a piece with the intent of making a lot of money. I purchase it with the idea of replacing a customer’s lost piece or helping someone restore an item’s authenticity.
Peter: I have also found that if you try and put on new hardware from Lowes or Home Depot, whether it’s a door, a dresser, or a nightstand, it ruins the look and the authenticity of the piece. Proper hinges and door pulls can mean the difference in selling a piece or not. How long has this store been operating?
Ed: The store has been open now for five years and I really enjoy doing this. It’s not just the buying and selling, it is also meeting the great people who are involved in this business. Many of them are no longer just customers, they have become friends. Every business has its ups and downs, but as long as people are restoring old homes and want the proper, authentic hardware, we should do alright. Nothing looks worse to me than walking into a beautiful century home and seeing the wrong hardware, like shiny new brass hinges or a new doorknob on a hundred year old oak door. All our hardware is old, not reproduction. We also sell antiques, old barn board, windows, doors and shutters. We also do lock repairs and make keys. We can replicate architectural pieces for customers in our woodworking shop.
Peter: I know both you and Susan are very busy with this business, but she is also involved with the Doors Open Program. Can you explain what that is?
Ed: She volunteers with Doors Open Whitchurch-Stouffville, which is part of Doors Open Ontario. It is a province-wide event that allows interested participants a chance to visit heritage buildings first-hand, including theatres, century homes and places of worship, just to mention a few. The Whitcurch-Stouffville Doors Open is on June 7 this year. Doors Open Ontario runs from April to mid October in different communities across the province and is free of charge. (Visit doorsopenontario.on.ca/ for additional information and find an event at a location you are interested in visiting.)
Peter: Ed, you have a great business with a truly impressive inventory. Thanks again for meeting with me.
Ed: It was good to see you again. Thank Sandy for the lunch. Ed’s clients range from beginner hobbyists to professional refinishers and include century home restorers and restoration contractors. Ed’s Hardware is located on Kennedy Road in Stouffville in a 7,000-square-foot barn that is packed top to bottom with vintage and antique hard-to-find hardware.
If you need it and can’t find it, chances are Ed’s got it. You can visit Ed’s Hardware (by appointment only), by calling 289-383-3769, or emailing him at email@example.com