CHICAGO -- Meyers Ace Hardware has been a Bronzeville staple for 95 years and 3 generations, beginning with owner David Meyers’ grandfather. In 1962, the store moved to the corner of 35th and Calumet, once the home of the famed Sunset Café, owned by Louie Armstrong.
In the mid-50's it was the Grand Terrance, a jazz mecca. A mural from back in the day still adorn the walls of Meyers' office from when greats like Ella Fitzgerald played the club.
But times have changed, and so has the hardware business. Now Meyers finds himself in debt.
"I have the pressure from Home Depot, and Amazon, and Walmart, keeping my prices down, but I need to raise my prices to pay the property tax bill," he said.
Despite the building's landmark status, Meyers says it didn’t fetch a big enough price for him to retire comfortably. So as emotional as it for the customers, it's even harder for Meyers, who doesn’t know what he’s going to do.
"I used to cut class in high school to come work in the store," he said. "I've never had another job."
Meyers said he’s never hired a white person to work there, because he believes in giving back to the community he serves. He says if they shop here, they should be able to make money there too.
The community has responded to news of the closing in a big way: they are throwing him a party on March 17, and jazz musician George Freeman will be performing.