Kirk’s Hardware Owners Close Doors After 20 Years
Writer / Matt Keating
Photographer / Daren Short
For the last 20 years Kirk’s Hardware was a local institution, and a popular staple on the downtown Noblesville square.
Bill and Carrie Prater, Kirk’s Hardware co-owners, closed their doors on March 31 after garnering a large following of loyal customers.
“We’ve had a lot of people tell us they are going to miss us,” Bill Prater says. “We have been able to really get to know a lot of our loyal customers and answer all of the questions they had.”
Prater says the building Kirk’s Hardware was in has been around since 1889.
“We took over in here in 2002,” he says. “The six-floor building we are in recently sold. There has always been a hardware store here. We tried to find someone to take over the business but couldn’t. It’s tough to find someone we trust who has the knowledge to run a business like this. It would take about three or four people to run a hardware store like this one these days.”
Prater says through the years the hardware store on Logan Street was called different names.
“It was known as Griffin Brothers going way back,” he says. “After that it was known as Sharpe Hardware, and later S.E. Hardy & Co. It eventually became known as Kirk’s Hardware in the early 1950s when Roy Kirk bought the business. He kept it for a long time. In the early 1980s Kirk sold the business to David and Jane Kingsolver, who hired me to work there.”
Prater says he decided to hang on to the well-known Kirk name when he took over the business in 2002.
“When you are that well-known in Noblesville, it just made sense to hang on to the name,” he says. “People knew they could find what they were looking for here and they didn’t want that to change.”
Prater earned a solid reputation as a person customers could turn to. They came into Kirk’s Hardware with many different repair needs and questions about their tools. He was known as a great repairman, and fixed different items at a worktable in the back of the store.
“I know how to fix a lot of different things,” he says. “I can fix everything. I can do screen and window repairs. I can fix lawnmowers, mower blades, hedge trimmers. I can do electrical work. I was busy in the back while Carrie did a great job running the register, waiting on customers and doing the paperwork. We know a lot about hardware.”
Prater has a sign behind his worktable that is popular. It says, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But if it is broke, take it to Papaw.”
His extensive knowledge will be tough to replace.
“I wish there was someone we could really trust with taking over the business and doing it right, but that’s tough to find, so it’s time to retire,” Prater says. “We are looking forward to having more time to chase our grandchildren around. We are also looking forward to their baseball and soccer games, and then their football games in the fall. We can’t complain. We met a lot of great customers over the years and became friends with a lot of them.”