Bob Brooks: Hardware opened early

Published 11:55 pm Friday, January 17, 2014

Bob Brooks, whose family has been in the hardware business for more than 100 years, explained that the hardware was once in the building that is now the home of Sound of the Trumpet. Later, it was on the square between Turner Store and Covington County Bank.

“We rented the store between Turner Store and CCB for 75 years,” he said. “When I started owning it, I thought it was stupid to rent for 75 years. Now that we own property, I think it was kind of smart.”

Brooks said there were several families in which three generations worked at the hardware. And then he described Keltus Powell, whose son, Roger, shared the stage. Brooks said that Keltus Powell was “such a good bean counter” that he always checked orders, and notified the supplier if the hardware had been shorted, or if the hardware had received more inventory than was billed.

After a hurricane, Brooks said, “we had 17 truck loads. And there was a $75,000 error.”

When Brooks called the company, he said, they questioned him.

“I said, ‘Do you want to speak to Mr. Powell.’ ”

Indeed, the company representative did not. The local hardware received a $75,000 credit.

Brooks said his first job at the hardware was to put the fishing poles out front when the store opened at 6:30 a.m. As an adult, he said, he agreed with co-worker James Anderson that it would be a good idea to rig up some fishing poles to sell.

“Daddy said ‘y’all are crazy. You’re wasting stuff.’

“We rigged up two dozen anyway,” he said. “That was right when Dr. Tomberlin moved to town, and he had some friends he wanted to take fishing. We sold 24 fishing poles to Dr. Tomberlin.”

Later, Anderson suggested the hardware employees take Zebco reels out of a box “and hook ’em on to a pole,” Brooks said. “By that time, Daddy didn’t argue. Those things made me a lot of money for a long time.”