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Swinney's Hardware was a fixture in Tulsa's Kendall-Whittier neighborhood from its opening in 1934 until it was forced to close in 2008 due to the encroachment of big box stores. The family-owned business prided itself on stocking "hard to find items."
The items include pumice stone polishing powder, old-style varnishes and window glaze, industrial cleaning aids and the WhirleyPop crank popcorn popping machine. John Swinney said their tung oil, used for treating outdoor furniture, is similar to what the Chinese used during construction of the Great Wall centuries ago.
Also among the inventory are bat houses. A sign on the front of the store advertises habitats for the flying, insect-eating mammals.
Unable to keep up with their vast stocks, Swinney’s concentrated on smaller and harder-to-find items. John Swinney said his family’s store also has a big advantage in customer service.
“It’s not just about the items — it’s the knowledge,” he said. “The other stores don’t know anything about the more obscure items.”
(excerpted from Tulsa World)
Tulsa In Ink