Friendswood Hardware’s iconic red hammer stands tall near the edge of downtown Friendswood off FM 521, where it has drawn locals for more than 40 years.
Owner Pat Robinson and her late husband initially opened the storefront as a hardware and feed supply store in 1972. That was when most residents owned horses and even traveled on horseback around the city.
“We went out and counted horses. In a 5-mile radius, there were 500 horses,” Pat said. “Everyone had horses. Things have changed.”
Friendswood Hardware has since shifted with the times. It stopped selling feed in the ’80s as horse ownership declined and the city grew into an attractive suburb for NASA employees.
Friendswood Hardware sells the typical selection of products, including electrical, glass, hardware, lumber and plumbing, with an emphasis on American-made, nontoxic and, when possible, organic products.
The shop is owned by the Robinson family. From left, Carol Robinson, Pat Robinson, Joanna Robinson and Austen Weymueller.[/caption]
Over the years, Pat added houseware, lawn care and garden supplies, such as organic and non-genetically modified seeds for gardens, natural herbicides, essential oil pest repellants, nontoxic rat poison, and locally sourced soils and mulch.
“It’s like with the times,” Pat said. “When we started, hardware was it. Now, everyone sells hardware, so you have to do more than hardware. Our strength is our lawn and gardening.”
Even with the proliferation of major home improvement stores, the Robinsons are not concerned. They have a loyal customer base, especially DIYers, who are dedicated to shopping local and preserving the city’s hometown feel.
“People come here for the help. We always have someone here who is really knowledgeable and can spend time with you. We’ll spend an hour talking about the dot on your leaf,” Joanna Robinson, Pat’s daughter, said.
Pat’s granddaughter and an employee completed a three-month expansion of Friendswood Hardware in August. The new indoor barn added a children’s area with books and toys.
“We were trying to find things you can’t find at Toys R Us—something that was kind of different,” Joanna said. “We get so many families, so many kids.”
While the store is supporting the construction needs of the community, Friendswood Hardware will have to undergo a renovation of its own.
The hardware store was inundated with several inches of water that left the floors in disrepair after Hurricane Harvey dropped up to 50 inches of water in Friendswood.