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'It's Sad to See It Go': Bayers Hardware Launches Final Sale

Southwest Minneapolis customers queued up to get first picks on store's stock.

By the time Bob Bayers opened the bolt on the  front door at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday morning, a line had formed outside.

Around 40 people stood on the sidewalk, waiting for the doors to open on the first day of the end of a shop that had stood in Linden Hills for nearly 90 years. The store's owner, neighborhood stalwart Bob Bayers, had announced days earlier that he had decided to surrender and end a loosing battle against another family-owned hardware store only a few paces away from his. Now, he's trying to sell off every last snowblower, , and shelf before the store closes for good on Sept. 1.

By mid-morning, a relative flood of at least 80 people had moved through Bayers' doors, some seeking deals and others just looking to say an early goodbye. To the first 200 customers, Bob Bayers handed out gold-plated pennies as a token of his thanks for the neighborhood's years of support.

"I've been getting a lot of nice comments, a lot of heartfelt thanks," Bayers told Patch. 

A hardware store is not always the first place that comes to mind as a pillar of the neighborhood. But for some, the store’s sheer longevity made it an inseparable part of downtown Linden Hills. Paint over its huge, bright white, red, and yellow façade, they might say, and it would feel like “the village” had a hole cut in it.

"I've lived in the neighborhood close to 30 years, so it's sad to see it go," shopper Sally Neal told Patch.

The narrow aisles around her bustled like a supermarket.

"We'll still have a good hardware store in Settergren's Ace Hardware (around the corner), so it's also bittersweet,” she added. “I hope Bob will get to retire and enjoy the next phase of his life."

"I was a little shocked when I heard about it, because I've lived here all my life," said fellow customer Abby Herndon."

Bayers' personal involvement with a number of neighborhood causes and events has also helped make him, personally, a fixture. 

"This whole thing was hard because Bob Bayers is a lifelong friend, and my nephew works at Settergren's, and you kind of knew only one would survive," Patch reader Mary Hirsch wrote on our Facebook page . "Bob is a good man with a big heart. . I wish him lots of happiness in whatever retirement brings him."

It's a way of doing business that Mark Settergren, owner of Settergren's Ace Hardware and winner of the battle of the hardware stores, looks set to continue. Within a year of opening the Linden Hills branch of his family's nearly-90-year old hardware store, and in his store's parking lot, and helped create . 

As for Bayers, his former wife and he still own his store's building. Beyond sorting out that structure's fate, he said, he will likely stay in the hardware business, advising other hardware store owners.

"Isn't that what you become, once you pass 60? A consultant?" he said.

Robert A July 30, 2012 at 05:38 PM
The 9/11 Tribute Concert at Lake Harriet Bandshell (which is not really a tribute but a show) put on by Bob Bayer has become very controversial. Immediately after 9 11 most saw it as appropriate. But as the years went on (it has been more than 10 years) most people saw it as inappropriate, and it became more of a tribute to al-Qaeda, a celebration of the Terrorists attacks. They even have firework displays at the 9 11 show, how sick is that, they did everything but reenact 9 11. Why doesn’t Bob Bayer put on a tribute to our brave veterans from all wars, why not a tribute to our brave fireman and police. The worst was when this 9 11 show keeps stating that the guy from Bloomington is a hero (the lets role guy) for bringing down a plane over Pennsylvania. The bipartisan 9/11 Commission stated that this was not true years ago. Lies weakens our great country (God Bless the USA), and only helps our enemies. The terrorist killed 2,973 victims on 9 11, but we are a strong nation, and have overcome much worse. The USA moves on and becomes stronger. The 9 11 show is UN American in that is wallows in self-pity. I knew people who died in 9 11, and I (like most others) find the 9 11 show distasteful. It is an insult to the victims of 9 11, it is an insult to our brave fireman, police, and our armed forces. . It is an insult to our great country the United States of America. I know a lot of fellow veterans who stopped going to Bayer’s Do It Best Hardware because of this
sandy d July 31, 2012 at 12:49 PM
@ Robert, you are right, the 9/11 celebration is gone very very wrong. It started off good in the first year, but now it is just a PUBLICITY STUNT, and a place where people show FAKE Patriotism, and as an excuse to have a concert. You are right “I knew people who died in 9 11, and I (like most others) find the 9 11 show distasteful. It is an insult to the victims of 9 11, it is an insult to our brave fireman, police, and our armed forces.” I also knew people who died in 9/11, and they would be horrified by this celebration. They should stop the 9/11 Tribute Concert at Lake Harriet Bandshell, for all the reasons you described and too many reasons too list here. @ Robert, Thank you and all Veterans for their service to our country. And a Thank You to our brave heroes in the police and fire departments.
sandy d July 31, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Bayers Hardware may be gone, but Linden Hills has a better replacement that has become the “pillar of the neighborhood” in Settergren's Ace Hardware (25 feet away, just around the corner). And Settergren's Ace Hardware is a small family business serving Minneapolis Minnesota for over 100 years. A previous post said it best: Leah 4:40 pm on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 I am sad for his loss but in the end one had to survive. Settergrens has shown their community support and their top notch customer service and product line in their short time in LH and I am glad they came out on top. Bob was a bitter person who really was not at all helpful in the end and it showed. It is no surprise.
Bob B September 01, 2012 at 01:20 PM
http://southwestminneapolis.patch.com/articles/linden-hills-says-good-by-to-unofficial-mayor#comment_4561612 Please stop the Bob Bayers is the "Unofficial Mayor" of Linden Hills stuff. It is not true and only has people dislike Bob Bayer more. I would say 98% of the people do not think of Bob Bayer as the "Unofficial Mayor" of Linden Hills. In fact his grumpy and surliness turned a lot of people against him, and hurt his business. His friends may have liked his personality, but the majority of people do not like to be around grumpy and surly people, and they do not like to do business with these people. “"He has a studied surliness that's part of his charm and humor," Rybak said. In other words, he likes to pretend he's grumpy as a way of being friendly.” sandy d “Bayers Hardware may be gone, but Linden Hills has a better replacement that has become the “pillar of the neighborhood” in Settergren's Ace Hardware (25 feet away, just around the corner). And Settergren's Ace Hardware is a small family business serving Minneapolis Minnesota for over 100 years. A previous post said it best: Leah 4:40 pm on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 I am sad for his loss but in the end one had to survive. Settergrens has shown their community support and their top notch customer service and product line in their short time in LH and I am glad they came out on top. Bob was a bitter person who really was not at all helpful in the end and it showed. It is no surprise.

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