Archive for May, 2012

Birthplace Bragging Rights

May 28, 2012

Waterloo, N.Y., claims the official title as birthplace of Memorial Day, but down South, a feud about the holiday’s origins still simmers.

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Nugent Hardware

May 27, 2012

Nugent HardwareWaterloo, New York© karen e. titus | all rights reserved© karen e. titus | all rights reserved

Waterloo, New York

This business hasn’t traveled far since opening in 1887 – it started two doors up the street from its current site, according to owner William B. Velte Jr. It moved to this spot in 1932.

Velte bought the store in 1965. Apart from a 28-month stint in the service, starting in 1950, he’s been a steady presence. “I love to fix screens and windows,” he says. Velte started working in the store in the winter of 1948, right out of high school, earning $26 a week. The first thing his boss told him: “If we have another Depression, you’re gonna have to take a cut in pay.”

Velte says the secret of his success is simple. “Work. 60 hours a week. I clean the streets, I clean the parking lot, I don’t take coffee breaks.”

Though he appears to sell everything in his store, it’s not quite the case. At one point his daughter (who began working at the store when she was a 4th grader) came by with a customer. She told her dad, “He’s looking for a propane fogger.”

Not even bothering to look up from the screen he was repairing, Velte replied, “That’s not us.”


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