After a century in business, Crown Hill Hardware is closing

One of Seattle’s oldest small businesses, Crown Hill Hardware on 15th Ave. NW is closing at the end of the month.

“I’ve been here a long time. It just has sentimental value,” says the store’s owner Dennis Palmer.

Palmer says his mom passed away a week ago, which triggered a requirement to sell the property, which is in a trust along with several other families. He said he expects there will be lots of bids, and he can’t afford to buy it himself.

Crown Hill Hardware first opened for business on 85th St. more than century ago, moving to its current location in the mid 1950s, Palmer said. His dad bought the store in 1976, and Palmer bought the business from his father in 2000.

“I’ve seen it change so much through the years. Small businesses just aren’t supported very much anymore,” he said.

Similar to central Ballard a few years ago, the 15th Ave. corridor is now peppered with brand new apartments and fenced-off lots awaiting new developments. “It’ll sell pretty quick,” Palmer said.

The store has been a Crown Hill institution for decades, but Palmer said business dropped during the last recession and never really recovered. “I’m doing more business now that I’m closing than when I’ve been open,” he joked to a regular customer.

“Sad to see you go,” the customer said.

Crown Hill Hardware will be open until the end of the month, and prices are marked down 30%.

“It was a good ride,” Palmer said.

(Thank you Amber for the tip.)

43 comments on “After a century in business, Crown Hill Hardware is closing”

  1. Wow, way to be brutally cruel, Peter Pan. Why don’t you march on over there, spit on the owner and kick him in the privates while cursing his deceased mother while you’re at it. New Ballard…

  2. Change is good but not when it forces closures of long time small businesses and runs it citizens out of town because of development run rampant, astronomical housing costs!!! ☹️

  3. Peter Pan: that’s such a mean and unnecessary comment to a neighbor who has been a wonderful asset to our neighborhood for many years. Shame on you.

    Mr. Palmer, Condolences from a neighbor. I wish you and your family the best.

  4. I’m sorry for his loss. Regarding the business however, it’s about time. This store never had anything I needed. It’s not that small business doesn’t get support. I tried over and over again. I’m a small business owner and I know it’s hard. It’s even harder if you don’t stock any products.

  5. Went by there easily a couple thousand times from 1950 on. I remember it for the Sherwin-Williams “Cover the Earth” sign.

  6. Likewise….. 15th is the new 24th or the new 8th. Both used to have small businesses from 85th to Market but now are just apartments.

  7. Hmmmm “change is good?” I’m just gonna assume you are a transplant, sounds like a comment from someone that was not born and raised in Seattle….

  8. Peter Pan, I imagine you don’t own a home in our neighborhood. You might rent an apartment since you just moved here? Don’t like the fact they don’t sell growlers and let you bring your dog in?
    They’ve been a great neighborhood hardware store since we’ve lived here the past 28 years.
    Sorry for the loss of your mom Mr. Palmer.

  9. I’m sad to hear they’re closing, but count me in as another local homeowner who has tried over and over again to shop for supplies in that store, only to discover they hardly stock anything.

    Over the summer, I went looking for some namebrand circuit breakers for my electrical panel to replace some old ones. I tried CrownHill Hardware first, but ended up going to Home Depot, because CH didn’t have what I was looking for. That’s happened almost everytime I shop there, sadly.

  10. Called there a couple years ago to see if they had a part in stock, and got hung up on. Called back and no one answered.

    Family businesses have a hard time surviving across generations. They had a good run and will get a good payoff selling the property.

  11. I am sad to see them go–I actually found what I was looking for there many times and was grateful to have a hardware store in the neighborhood.

  12. went here many times in the 20+ years living nearby. Usually for those “in-a-pinch” items, a fastener, caulk, etc. Enjoyed it most when all 3 kids were working the store as we lived across the street from one of ’em.

    Yes, Peter Pan = New Ballard = Inconsiderate.

  13. “change is good.”

    Yeah just what we need! Another one of those oversized Kleenex boxes stuffed full of 200 sf cubicles with no on-site parking for people who are living there for a year or so before passing through the neighborhood.

    What next? Hardwick’s finally closing its doors is “progress?”

  14. “change is good.”

    Yeah just what we need! Another one of those oversized Kleenex boxes stuffed full of 200 sf cubicles with no on-site parking for people who are living there for a year or so before passing through the neighborhood.

    What’s next? Hardwick’s finally closing its doors is “progress?”

  15. Thank you for being here , you gave glass each time the kids broke a window by accident, paint brush to paint ,the babies rooms and repaint and repair their rooms you knew our old houses and how to fix them . Bless

  16. Thank you for being here , you gave glass each time the kids broke a window by accident, paint brush to paint ,the babies rooms and repaint and repair their rooms you knew our old houses and how to fix them . Bless you and your family ,so sorry for the loss of your mother

  17. Sorry to see you go. I have had several screens repaired there through the years. The last one I was charges $3.00! Never had the feeling you were there to make money, just to be of service. We will miss you!

  18. Hmmmm “change is good?” I’m just gonna assume you are a transplant, sounds like a comment from someone that was not born and raised in Seattle…its really important. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Change isn’t always progress. Bigger isn’t always better. I tried shopping there when I could, but usually couldn’t find what we needed. Shopping in the big box stores can be an afternoon all to itself. So many of us just use Amazon knowing we may have to wait a day to get what we want. Goodbye Crown Hill Hardware, hello apartments/condos/apodments!

  20. We posted this article about Crown Hill Hardware on our KBFG radio 107.3fm website. These are the kind of stories we plan to cover on our new radio station that can be heard in Ballard, Fremont and Greenwood. Like My Ballard, we are community-powered and invite your participation. As the comments to this article demonstrate we all share many thoughts and feelings about the changes that are happening to our community. We plan to be a radio station where we can come to grip with the changes that we are living with.

  21. This is progress. I doubt that anyone blindly defending this store has tried to ship there in the past 5 years.

    They don’t stock anything. Everything is covered in an inch of dust, their inventory is random and ancient. The owner clearly gave up on running a real business a long time ago.

    This is a good change for everyone.

  22. I too tried to support them, they were always my first stop, but they rarely had what I needed. Now I usually go to Stone Way Hardware down my the Ballard Bridge, another small and local operation.

  23. Not sad to see these guys go, sometimes a business just has to move on. Small businesses are not automatically great, and this one was (at least recently) sad, unhelpful, and understocked. I understand they might have been good at screens, but they should have just focused there. I would so much rather shop at Morgan’s or Stoneway than Crown Hill Hardware.

  24. So depressing. Money, money, money. That seems to drive everything in Seattle anymore. Just like local unique businesses and horses are being razed, so are the unique and local people who made Seattle the creative, funky, ready-going and innovative place it used to be. So, Peter Pan, stick your “Change is good” comment in your car with the rest of your things and go somewhere.

  25. These small business’ fall prey to development due to the phony economy created with cheap money from the Federal Reserve under Obama! See how much constructions happens when interest rates are what they should be!

  26. While it’s always sad to see a small business close, this is the worst hardware store I’ve ever been too. Did you ever have a key made there? If so, you had less than a 50% chance of it actually working. The had really poor customer service and never had anything in stock you’d need–like astoundingly poorly stocked. You could tell that they didn’t care about making a profit or running a successful business, the son was just killing time running the family business into the ground. It just became pointless to go there when you needed a quick part because they just wouldn’t have it. Maybe a real independent hardware store can open up there instead?

  27. Thank you Dennis, I appreciate the help you’ve given me over the years, and I hope that the next part of your life is good to you. My condolences for the loss of your mother. I recently lost my father, and it gave me a heart attack. Give yourself lots of patience and take very, very good care of yourself so the same doesn’t happen to you. Health, happiness, peace and serenity to you and yours.

  28. I think the best way I can honor Dennis and his family’s business is to tell a Crown Hill Hardware story. The last time I was in CHH I had bought a new clothes dryer and a new flex metal exhaust hose, and was dismayed to find it didn’t fit my old home’s exhaust port to the outside. The one I had before was plastic and was able to stretch, but my new metal one wouldn’t. I was looking for something like an adapter to make it work. Dennis listened politely and didn’t laugh at me [too much] in front of my daughter, and then explained to me how I could easily make one myself with sheet steel and metal tape. I never would have attempted this on my own, but he sold me some sheet steel at a very reasonable price and gave me good instructions how I could do it. First try was a disaster, but the second try works great and I have no doubt it will last a long, long time. Thanks again Dennis! I’ll miss you.

  29. I’ve shopped here for what the family needs for 15 years. Yeah, I often had to re-route to home depot but these guys were always straight up on whether they had something or not.

  30. I get the sentiment, but this shop was USELESS. They stocked almost nothing, I wonder how it survived so long. My go-to local shop is Stoneway Hardware, just off the N end of the Ballard Bridge. Knowledgeable, friendly staff, and they DO stock the place well. Great key duplication service too.

  31. “Palmer says his mom passed away a week ago, which triggered a requirement to sell the property, which is in a trust along with several other families.”

    They’re selling. Probably for a million +. I’m sure they’re crying all the way to the bank.

    ” sounds like a comment from someone that was not born and raised in Seattle”

    Greetings Crown Hillbillie!

    I really hope they put a Starbucks in there, just to rile the yokels up.

  32. “horses are being razed”

    Yeah, things have really gone to hell in Ballard since they introduced the horseless carriage and stole the land from the natives.

  33. “Peter Pan, I imagine you don’t own a home in our neighborhood.

    You imagine wrong. Again.

  34. “this shop was USELESS.”

    “ I often had to re-route to home depot”

    “this is the worst hardware store I’ve ever been too”

    “sad, unhelpful, and understocked.”

    “they rarely had what I needed”

    “They don’t stock anything. Everything is covered in an inch of dust, their inventory is random and ancient. “

    “Called there a couple years ago to see if they had a part in stock, and got hung up on. Called back and no one answered.”

    “ended up going to Home Depot, because CH didn’t have what I was looking for”

    “This store never had anything I needed”

    If these were Yelp reviews for a restaurant, you’d probably be running for the john 15 minutes after entering.

    The reviews are in folks.

    Solution? Amazon Prime. Unless you have raw sewage backing up in the basement, they can get you anything you need in 2 days.

  35. I am sorry that you lost your mother. Thank you for the 65+ years of service and supplies of Crown Hill Hardware. For those of us getting up in years, it was greatly appreciated to have a hardware store steps from the parking lot and knowledgeable help to figure out what was needed to do the job. Dennis will be missed.

  36. How will the Crown Hillbillies react when they close down Ye Olde Sands Showgirls and the blood bank?

    What will they do on Sunday mornings? Go out for growlers and pilates?

    Now that the Love Zone is a hipster workout joint, where will Old Grandma Olson get her lace nylon thongs and battery powered thrills?

    Change is good. I’m liking the new 15th Ave.

  37. Hello, I would first like to say to those that have no manners. Learn them! I grew up in Seattle, I even lived in the Crown Hill neighborhood. I remember the hardware store. I am sad to hear it is closing. I am also sorry for your loss sir. This arrogant flippant attitude that so may people seem to possess is unacceptable. I am a small business owner myself in the construction trade. It is very hard for a hardware store to carry products that might sit on the shelf for the occasional walk in trades person. Unless a tradesman makes a commitment to continually shop at a small family owned hardware store, it is very unlikely that they will be able to provide your products. It is after all a symbiotic relationship. Stop with the thoughtless words and attitudes. People tend to love and cherish where they grow up. Once these businesses and brownstones are gone, the visual architecture and personal history of Seattle is gone. You are a correct to intimate its a new era…of …com and a repetition of the same on every street, every neighborhood and every state. How very lovely it to know that we are becoming homogenized beyond recognition.

  38. “visual architecture and personal history of Seattle is gone.”

    Sorry dude, history doesn’t end with you and your friends.

    It also didn’t start with you and your friends.

    But keep thinking the sun, history and culture revolves around you.

  39. If I couldn’t find what I went in for, the staff ALWAYS suggested which hardware store to try first. Sometimes Stoneway, sometimes the one on Phinney Ridge. But the thing I will miss the most is the super-fast and quality job they did on my window screens.
    Oh, and I’ll also miss looking at the giant wrench when I’m waiting to cross 15th, trying to to make sure I don’t get a red light ticket…

  40. We are sad to see our neighbor closing their doors. Greenwood Hardware is right up the road and will be here for overflow of this sadness. Good Luck Mr. Palmer.

  41. Oh no, that means those three buildings are vacant all along there…
    That’s a big enough space for another massive apartment complex… it’s because the road goes right to Amazon I’ll bet…

    I’m on disability and have to sign up for low cost housing before this street is all bought up for condos to house the Invasion of Dilberts…

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