Today’s Asbury Park Press pops in at Fair Haven Hardware for a look at what keeps the 55-year-old business going in an era when Home Depot, Lowe’s and and other big-box chains have all but eliminated stores its size.

Owner Harvey Schooman, who was two years old when his parents started the business, tells Press reporter Larry Higgs how the store thrives.

“We’re the 7-Eleven of the hardware industry,” Schooman said. “It’s having what people want when they want it and providing, not good, but superior service.”

In this case, that means no lumber and other large items, but lots small stuff — and paint. Paint sales make up 40 percent of the store’s total, Schooman tells the Press.

His mantra is to run a place where customers can come in, find what they want and get going, with a friendly hello in between. To do that, Schooman insists his staff of eight take you where you need to go, show you the item and answer any questions, rather than point or mumble an aisle number.

redbankgreen can vouch for the small-town convenience store atmosphere there. We stopped in two weekends ago to pick up replacement window screening — which an employee measured and cut by hand from a large roll — and a can of paint.

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