Swinney’s Hardware

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Located at 32 S. Lewis Ave., just down the block from the Circle Cinema, Swinney’s Hardware is Tulsa’s oldest independent hardware store.

John Swinney and his sister, Joan Atkins, are third-generation owners. The hardware store has been in their family since 1934 and was already a Tulsa institution by the time their father acquired the store’s famous animated neon sign — built to resemble a hand saw, with a chrome blade and flashing teeth synchronized to give the illusion that the blade is moving back and forth.

Inside, Swinney and Atkins offer a spectacular array of products and services: bulk hardware (including old-fashioned items suitable for repairing historic buildings), plumbing parts, wallpaper supplies, tool handles, snaps for dog chains, keys, bulk kerosene, blender parts, cleaning products made in Oklahoma, top-of-the-line space heaters (and service for them when they break), furnace filters, UPS shipping services, and much, much more.

I spend stupid amounts of time in hardware stores. I grew up tagging along with Daddy to the hardware store and the lumberyard, and I still need adult supervision to stay out of trouble in those environments, as I enjoy playing with my credit card at a hardware store the way most women enjoy shopping for shoes.

You’ve heard me riff on the importance of sweet tea at a barbecue joint and the importance of snoot at a meat market. After all these years, I’ve come up with a similar one-question test for hardware stores:

“Y’all got a sling blade?”

Not that I need a sling blade, mind you — we already have two of them, which we use all summer when the weeds start taking over the easement behind our back fence — but I like to know where I can buy a replacement if I need it, and more importantly, I’ve yet to walk into a hardware store that carries sling blades and walk out without whatever I came in to buy. A sling blade is just a sure sign that you’re dealing with a store whose owners know what they’re doing.

Swinney’s, needless to say, carries sling blades. (So do Best and Cullison, but I’ll save those reviews for another day; in the meantime, if you’re interested in exploring Tulsa’s indie hardware stores, you might take a peek at this article that ran in the Tulsa World a few weeks ago.)

The staff at Swinney’s is friendly and knowledgeable, the prices are competitive, and the store is big enough to have what you need, but small enough to be convenient. Maybe best of all, Swinney’s — like so many independent businesses in Tulsa — isn’t shy about referring you elsewhere in the unlikely event that they don’t have what you need on hand.

For hours and information, call 587-7269.

Grades:
Value: A
Service: A+
Products: A+
Convenience: A-
Overall: A+

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~ by redforkhippie on March 2, 2007.

10 Responses to “Swinney’s Hardware”

  1. BY FAR, THE BEST AND MOST NOSTALGIC HARDWARE STORE IN TOWN! IF YOU CAN’T FIND IT ANYWHERE ELSE, YOU’LL FIND IT AT SWINNEYS. YOU ALSO GET SERVICE, THEY KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING! BUT PLEASE DON’T SHOP THERE LAST, THEY NEED US TO STAY IN BUSINESS. P.S. THIER PRICES BEAT THE BIG BOXES AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO BUY IN BULK. ONE NAIL AT A TIME!

  2. […] scratching around and enjoying the pretty weather, we brought them back inside and went over to Swinney’s Hardware to pick up Ron’s birthday present — an umbrella-style clothesline and a bag of Sackrete […]

  3. […] under a gray sky. The day looks cold, but I’ll bundle up in a little while and head out to Swinney’s to get hardware for the potting-table […]

  4. […] been rumored for weeks, and it appears the Tulsa World has confirmed it — that Swinney’s Hardware in Tulsa, which has been operating since 1934, is set to close Aug. […]

  5. I’m glad it will still be open when we come to visit near the end of April. I want to check it out while I still can. It’s sad when a community loses a valuable resource like that. Great quantities of “usual” stuff can never substitute for a local business that knows its customers and is eager to supply all their needs, not just the “usual” ones. God bless them, and I hope they can find a way to stay open.

  6. […] Swinney’s Hardware is closing later this […]

  7. I’m glad my parents and I were able to go one last time when we visited in April. We used to walk up there all the time because we lived on the corner of First and Xanthus, which is only about a mile from Swinney’s. I got my first oil lamp there, it was just sitting there in the window, waiting for my nine year old self. I always knew where they kept the lamps, up the ramp and to the left! Now, if I ever get back to Tulsa, Swinney’s will be gone. :(

  8. Was Neal Swinney any relation to the Swinney Hardware family?

  9. FYI – Swinney’s Hardware is still running a backdoor operation, selling out inventory @ cost and tax-free. They are usually open Mon-Fri, 10:00am to 3:00. The store is also for sale and the owners will finance @ a lower rate than banks. Call for details:
    O’Rourke Real Estate – 918-583-0911

  10. My Grandfather Ari Bradley used to take me to Swinney’s well over 45 years ago. I still have fond memories of hanging out there. I was very sad to hear that they have finally shut their doors. Curse you Home Depot & Lowe’s. You can never compare to Swinney’s service, their unique inventory or their hometown feel!! I will always have a place in my heart for the Swinneys. R. Lozano_Atlanta, GA

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