Placerville Hardware and tradition go hand in hand during holidays

By From page B2 | December 14, 2010

The holidays are a time of nostalgia and tradition, and there’s no better place than Placerville Hardware to mingle the new with the old.

In this hardware and variety store at 441 Main St., there is a plethora of merchandise and presents for any family member.

“There’s a bit of the past along with the new stuff,” affirmed Albert Fausel, 32, who is carrying on the family legacy, managing the store and taking care of a lot of details, such as cleaning and oiling the old wood floors to keep them beautiful. “I picked up where Dad (David Fausel) left off.”

Fausel credits having good reps that present the store with useful wares along with objects that fetch the imagination. He said that they are also blessed with wonderful employees, sweet and personable individuals who like the Fausels, are always willing to help.

“If we don’t have it, we’ll order it for you,” said Fausel, who has been knee-deep in the business since he was knee-high to a grasshopper. “We’re completely for our customers and it’s always our goal to make everybody happy.”

Clearly it’s not just the family genes and experience that has kept the store going for more than 150 years.

This efficient young man, like generations before him, seems to exemplify the willingness, personality, verve and sincerity to keep Placerville Hardware forever au courant.

Mandarin joy

One of the most special things this season, according to Fausel, is the Mandarins from Graham’s Pear Shed. Rather than driving down Cold Springs Road for Bill Graham’s fabulous citrus, the festive and delicious Mandarins are for sale right at the store.

Often the beautiful Waldie Graham, 2006 El Dorado Rose is on hand to bag the fruit. But inside Placerville Hardware, there are containers, gift bags, baskets and containers that could make these healthy Mandarins a stunning and beautiful gift.

Hot item

One of the hot sellers this year is a new-fangled LED top that lights up as it spins, Fausel said. But Placerville Hardware also has those old-time toys and games that never go out of style.

The joy of canning

Placerville Hardware’s old-fashioned merchandise is just as useful as ever, such as Mason jars. They stock plenty of Kerr and Ball jars for canning all year round. They have one gallon jars as well as a huge array of sizes.

At Placerville Hardware, one can always find the variety and selection needed for canning wonderful local produce. For people who carry on the tradition of canning their own fruits and vegetables, Mason jars make a wonderful present.

In fact, Placerville Hardware also carries lye, which is necessary in the processing of olives. So if you or a loved one has an olive tree, you can be certain that the lye in always in stock.

Fausel says that Christmas hats and Santa hats are also very popular this season. Anyone who has visited Placerville Hardware knows that both men and women can find lots of marvelous things.

One lady had looked high and low for a special mop head, and guess where she finally found one? Placerville Hardware can be one-stop shopping for a variety of needs.

The joy of nooks and crannies

One of the challenges that Placerville Hardware faces, explained Fausel, is a layout full of corners, a unique old-fashioned design no longer found in most stores. It makes merchandising quite an experience, trying to display items to their best advantage, especially when there’s so much to exhibit.

This challenge for merchandisers is a joy for the shopper. There are nooks and crannies that are filled with practical items as well as things reminiscent of yesteryear.

Exploring aisles and turning corners is like being on a treasure hunt where shoppers can find anything under the sun. There are items that have been there for decades, but it’s right there waiting for the perfect person.

Some things at Placerville Hardware seem so ingenious that consumers don’t even know they needed them. But once the item is found it’s a real “ah haw” moment. That’s just one of the reasons why browsing at Placerville Hardware is bound to give everyone ideas for everyone on the gift list.

The joy of fixing

It goes without saying that Placerville is a paradise for men. The selection of tools and gadgets puts any man in the mood to bolster up the tool chest. Let men wander around a hardware store like this, and they’ll make up projects to do (or in some cases, plan to do year … after year). Perhaps one of the joys of home improvement is stocking up on what’s needed to accomplish the task. Buying the tools or material for a project as a gift is a well-placed hint. Perhaps it’s not de rigeur in the manuals on manners, but it can always be blamed on Santa.

Sitcoms have often portrayed men buying some rather mundane and useful gifts for the women in their lives, brooms, vacuums, toasters, that sort of thing. And depending on the lifestyle, that may be the perfect gift.

Some comedies show people giving gifts that the person himself or herself really wants. Placerville Hardware is a great spot for practical gift givers. If your goal is to get something useful and needed, this store is a veritable treasure chest.

There are things so intriguing that all genders and ages can be delighted, not only with the gift, but with the experience. While buying a practical item, you’re sure to find other things at the store that are whimsical and pretty as well.

One of the things that stands out at Placerville Hardware is the expert duplicate key making.

“We’ve got an old fashioned reliable machine,” said Albert. It’s not just that they produce good keys, the employees are so helpful and friendly (it might even be Albert) that this little chore becomes a delight. Plus, they have so many key chains and accoutrements and so many things to look at that making a duplicate key is a fun experience.

The joy of history

As the west’s oldest continuous hardware store, Placerville Hardware has a history. Its cachet has been made even more famous by being featured in such films as “Retreivers.” Its exposure on the History Channel and other shows has also made the store a landmark and a destination.

“The lights were so hot during the History Channel filming, the store almost caught fire,” recalled Fausel.

Fires notwithstanding, the tourists who visit Placerville Hardware are always thrilled with the experience, and the trade has catapulted the store into the annals of history.

The bread and butter is still Placerville Hardware’s beloved local customers who always come back to their hometown store. Since the beginning, the Fausel family has supported the community. Giving back has always given back to them.

“We have so many local customers who come here. For example the employees at the courthouse and other local businesses come here for their hardware needs. A lot of them like to keep it local … and I’m very thankful for them,” said Fausel.

Good continues

Inevitably, things change with time, but the good persists throughout the generations. No where does this seem more true than in a beloved family business. The young Fausel brings youthful energy and family values to the business that he grew up in. He’s been right there with mom, dad (Deanne and David Fausel) and grandpa for as long as he can remember.

Albert says his 98-year-old grandfather still wants to work, and comes to the store whenever he can. It stirs his memories, and of course, he is proud of the fruits of his labor and commitment.


The senior Fausels are running their ranch (famous for its cherries) and wedding business and leaving the hardware store in Albert’s capable hands. For anyone who has heard the Fausel’s dear friend Pamela Faye Houston sing the “Star-Spangled Banner,” and other country songs, they will be happy to know that the rising country star is in remission, doing well and living in Idaho.

Though this year was not the best year for cherries, the Fausel’s Hanks Exchange cherries (featured at the store in season) are legendarily delicious.

Albert explained that they’re exceptionally good because they tend to them lovingly, and because it gets colder here. Lower temperatures increase the sugar content, making them extraordinarily delicious. Like Graham’s oranges and the other apples, grapes and produce in the region, the microclimate is ideal.

The joy of commitment

It is also an ideal, beautiful spot for weddings. In fact, the Fausels’ Hanks Exchange ranch weddings have become very popular. Their weddings exude the warm spirit, hospitality and attention to needs that have made Placerville Hardware a resounding success through the years.

Ironically, Albert had a hard time booking his own wedding, since the ranch is so busy.

But he did it (move over, Prince Will). After 14 years of dating his high school sweetheart, their wedding will be held at the Fausel Ranch.

But taking the reins of the business hasn’t been a huge transition for Albert. He obviously has it in his blood, and has the same love of the community and his customers that the Fausels have exemplified over the years.

“I try to carry things in bulk, all those ABC items in a hardware store. Some items do sit there for years, but when someone needs it, I’ll have it,” Albert said.

For locals and tourists alike, going into Placerville Hardware is an adventure. It’s just a few steps away from the parking garage, and there is always someone (perhaps Albert, who is there, hands-on in every aspect of the business) to help customers carry purchases if assistance is needed.

The oldest business in the west, a local family and the tradition of community care and true customer service makes Placerville Hardware unique.

The store has things most of us can’t live without once we know that they exist. But they also have all the regular hardware needs that can make life and gift-giving a true pleasure and more. The old-fashioned and family values this store exudes makes it Placerville’s hub for gift-giving, home improvement, quality and reliability.

Hometown businesses, according to Albert, make the county economy viable, help merchants to help their community … but offer much, much more including tradition and customer service.

Placerville Hardware is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They will be open late Friday and Saturday nights during the holiday season. The phone number is 530-622-1151.
E-mail: [email protected]

Susana Carey Wey

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