Joe Harris Paint & True Value hardware store closing after 60 years in Bridgeport

CHICAGO (WLS) — A hardware store that has been open in Chicago for 60 years is ready to say goodbye.

Joe Harris Paint & True Value has been a neighborhood staple and will close its doors Wednesday.

It’s the customers at Joe Harris Paint & True Value that store manager Bill Hawrysz said he will miss the most.

“Taking care of four generations of people here too, from grandfathers to newborns, I’m not going to see that anymore,” he said.

Bill has been working at his uncle’s hardware store for 55 years.

He recently took over running the place after his uncle’s health was declining. The decision to close these doors was not an easy one and it still isn’t.

“I just have to move on, i have to take care of myself too,” Hawrysz said.

Bill hasn’t taken a two-week vacation in 30 years, putting in 10-hour days for decades. He’s exhausted and says it’s time to say goodbye. But that’s not easy for anyone at the store.

“I think today will be sad for him and for customers and all that it’s going to be hard,” Georgiann Hawrysz, the owner’s wife.

Just ask longtime customer Sister Bernadette Eaton.

“It has been great,” she said. “If you need a nail you just run down to the corner and get it if you need anything, and Bill always will help. If I needed my carbon monoxide battery changed, he knew how to do it.”

The store closing is also a big loss for the neighborhood and those that represent it.

“I know my father used to come in here and get keys cut,” 11th Ward Alderman Nicole Lee. “To have a place in the community that you knew you could trust the proprietor of the store for advice and anything you needed, it’s a loss for the community for sure.”

“I’ve known the family, and it makes it doubly hard,” Cook County Commissioner John Daley said. “I’ve been here from day one, with my mom, dad, and other family members.”

Although his health is not the best, owner Joe will stop by the store later Wednesday afternoon for a final look around, and some cake and tearful goodbyes.

Bill said when the store closes, he does plan on taking a two-week vacation and will be going to Disney.

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