Landmark Columbia hardware store to close after 40 years

At a time when most folks make the weekend trek to big box stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot for their home improvement needs, Cedar Terrace Hardware is a throwback.

For one, the store is tucked away at 6420 Garners Ferry Road in the very back of Cedar Terrace shopping center across the street from the Dorn V.A. Medical Center, invisible from the street.

It is chocked to overflowing with anything a DIYer could need (besides lumber), from ax handles to three-penny nails. And it carries a lot of hard-to-find items not stocked by the big boys, making it a favorite among professionals.

And until three years ago, you’d be greeted at the door by Champ, a people-loving golden retriever who hung out at the entrance and nuzzled regulars and strangers alike. (Champ died of cancer in 2015.)

Now, after four decades in business, owner Jay McAlister is hanging it up.

“I’m 72 years old; I’m tired,” he said, leaning on a counter near the front door — a regular perch if he’s not sitting in a cozy corner with an ancient television watching repeats of “Matlock.”

McAlister said he’s been thinking about retirement for some time. His son, Ty, didn’t want to carry on the business, and McAlister tried to sell it, but there were no takers.

“I thought I would retire as soon as I could find a way to get rid of all this stuff,” he said.

Presently, the store is offering 25 percent off every bolt, nut, screwdriver and roach motel.

Its final day open will be Nov. 28. Anything left in the store will be auctioned off Dec. 1 and 2.

“I’ve enjoyed it for 40 years,” McAlister said. “It’s been a good run, but I’m ready to retire and to try something else.”