2008 BEST Hardware
Swartz True Value
More than a century of know-how emanates from this suburban institution, founded by Michael Swartz’s immigrant grandparents in 1890 and eventually passed down the line to him. While the old-time architecture was destroyed in a fire 38 years ago, the old-time ‘real hardware’ attitude hasn’t changed (you’ll be hard-pressed to find a teakettle here, for instance). Our local DIY expert reports that Swartz has 10 times the number of tools found at other stores, plus products that others dropped decades ago. Also earning high marks are the paint department’s mix masters and, out back, a roomy parking lot for the load-it-up, haul-it-home contingent.