Neighborhood Fixture 3

Whatever Your DIY Project, Ayd Hardware Has Long Been There to Help

A few things have changed in the 45 years since Ayd Hardware became a fixture in the Stoneleigh neighborhood. The store has moved three times (but only by a block), upsized and downsized and upsized, and seen family members shift in and out of key roles. But one thing hasn’t changed. In today’s age of online shopping and big-box home improvement stores, Ayd Hardware has remained singularly focused on providing personalized service—and equipping customers with the knowledge and goods they need to tackle any DIY project around the house.

“If your faucet starts leaking or your toilet seat wears out, you’re not going to Amazon.com to fix that problem. You’re going to a hardware store like ours to buy a part and get an explanation of how to use it,” owner Vince Ayd says. “We’re now seeing a third generation come into our store. Originally, it was dads with their kids. Now their kids are dads themselves coming in with their own children.”

In the early years after Ayd Hardware first opened in 1974, all five Ayd brothers—Frank, Joe, Tom, Joe and Vince—played different roles. Since then, all but Vince have mostly moved on to other things. It was in 1984 that Vince went “all in,” buying the business and becoming the sole owner.

“This is such a solid neighborhood,” he says. “From the 1970s until now, I’ve watched property values go up in a straight line. I’ve modeled my inventory on that, taking care of customers who want to maintain their houses. I’m not here to help with a major renovation. That’s beyond my scope. But I am a great shop for repairs.”

Over the decades, Vince has come to enjoy the cyclical nature of the local hardware business. In summer, his big sellers are garden hoses and sprinklers. Come fall, he stocks a healthy supply of leaf rakes and lawn bags. Winter means snow shovels and ice melt. And when spring arrives, “everyone gets inspired to get outside,” he says. Drive by Ayd Hardware on an April afternoon, and you’ll see pallets of colorful flowers out front. You’ll also see row after row of lawnmowers. On a typical spring Saturday, he says, he’ll get 25 to 40 mowers in for servicing. Fortunately, his son, Charles, comes in to help with repairs.

At 63, Vince continues to work 10-hour days, though he has conceded to taking Thursdays and Sundays off.

“I’ve watched market trends come and go, and yet here I still am,” he says, smiling. “You just have to keep working at it. Never lose focus. And don’t ever give up.”

1974: Ayd Hardware founded as a local family hardware and custodial supply company

1984: Vince Ayd buys the family business and becomes sole owner.

1994: Store moves from original location in the 6800 block of York Road to 6719 York Road.

2006: Ayd Hardware moves to current location at 6801 York Road.