Bay Area hardware stores battle through a crazy year

In San Francisco, the pandemic and subsequent economic downturn have hit many local businesses like a ton of bricks. But for a select few sectors, business has been booming, from the grocery stores that saw mobs of panic-buyers to the gardening centers overwhelmed by bored quarantiners starting victory gardens.

So, what about our neighborhood hardware stores, trustworthy bastions of power tools and cleaning supplies? Are they crazy-busy from the legions of people taking on home improvement projects, or struggling to survive? Four of our favorite local spots told us how they’re doing, from enduring multiple burglaries to seeing soaring sales on unexpected items.

Cliff’s Variety

While business has generally been OK in 2020 at Cliff’s Variety in the Castro, general manager Terry Asten Bennett said they’re forecasting a rough fourth quarter. A lot of the store’s sales come from gifts, souvenirs and seasonal items, and with Halloween effectively canceled and the December holidays up for debate, it could be a tough three months. Sales in September were trending 10% down, when they had only been 5% down over the summer months.

“It’s a balancing act,” Asten Bennett said. “I’m so grateful we got to be open this whole time but it still really hurts. Normally our fourth quarter carries us. We’ve forecasted a bad Halloween.”

While certain department’s sales are up — she said jigsaw puzzle sales have grown 300% — she said the lack of tourists buying gifts, souvenirs and novelty items is hurting their bottom line. She also said school supply sales have been down as kids stay home for distance learning. Most of all, Asten Bennett said she thinks some people are still just scared to go to stores and are choosing online shopping over a traditional retail experience. “We’re also getting really hurt by the Amazon

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Area homes sales up despite shortage | Northwest Indiana Business Headlines

Home Sales

Home sales in the Region remained strong in August despite the continued shortage of homes on the market and the rising prices, according to information from the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors.

GNIAR collects sales data from members in a seven-county area, including Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper, Newton, Starke and Pulaski. In August, the members reported selling 1,246 homes, almost 100 more than August of 2019, or an increase of 8.3%. August was also up from July’s total of 1,227. For the year, sales are about 1% up from 2019 at 7,113 units sold.

The median price of a home rose almost 12% from a year ago to $211,500 and it jumped almost 5% from July’s median price of $202,000. So far this year, the median price of a home has risen 8% to $189,000.

GNIAR CEO Pete Novak said a total of about 1,800 homes were on sale during the month. That’s almost half as many as were on the market in August 2019. The shortage of homes on the market began to occur in 2014, but the number has decreased more rapidly the past three years.

Novak compared it to 2006, when buyers had 6,000 homes to select from. Despite the dramatic difference in the number of homes on the market, the number of sales was about the same in both years.

“We had strong August numbers,” Novak said. “We still have a very limited number of homes available and high prices, so to have an increase in sales is surprising. Buyers don’t have much to choose from, but they are still buying.

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What $1M can buy in the Nashville area

Nashville Tennessean

Published 5:02 a.m. CT Oct. 10, 2020



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1807 Tyne Blvd, Nashville 37215

Year built: 1974

Square feet: 3,818

Price: $1M

Description: Four-bedroom, four-bathroom home has been renovated but retaining all the features of Robert Anderson architecture. Home is set on 2.5 wooded acres with views and is minutes from Green Hills.

1807 Tyne Blvd., Nashville 37215 (Photo:

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122 Bayview Drive, Hendersonville 37075

Year built: 1986

Square feet: 7,800

Price: $1M

Description: Home has entry foyer, five bedrooms each with a full bath, five fireplaces, two living rooms, media room, office, gym and den with bar. Home has three-car carage with separate workshop, circular driveway, one covered and two open patios, koi pond and inground pool. 

122 Bayview Drive, Hendersonville 37075 (Photo:

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2050 Bear Paw Trail, Columbia 38401

Year built: 2006

Square feet: 4,771

Price: $1M

Description: Home has private lane situated off the main road, on almost 19 acres. Home has three bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, gas log masonry fireplace, bonus room, new flooring, new backsplash, views from the deck and storm shelter. 

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Pensacola area contractors warn of scams, see high demand

Madison Arnold, Pensacola News Journal
Published 6:00 a.m. CT Sept. 25, 2020 | Updated 3:52 p.m. CT Sept. 25, 2020

More than a week after Hurricane Sally made landfall, Shirley Hopkins has already had to re-tack the blue tarp to the roof of her East Yonge Street home so Thursday morning’s rain wouldn’t seep in like it did last week.

“Every so often you have to go back and add some more of those roofing nails because the wind gets under the tarp and it blows the tarp up and with all the rain coming in, you absolutely have to have it down all the time because it’s going to cause the leaks that are in your house to become worse,” Hopkins said. “We’re just hoping that it’s going to hold out for a few days.”

Hopkins lost about two-thirds of her roof, which caused rain water to drip into her home, through the ceiling and onto her carpet. Now she’s worried about mold setting in and she still can’t connect with any roofers to inspect her home.

“Every time we see a sign (for a roofer), we write it down and we call. And they say ‘OK, we’re going to get back with you,'” Hopkins said. “We’ve had some trouble getting people really to come out or return calls.”


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Roofers and contractors around the Pensacola area are being inundated with calls from residents who have wind, water and tree damage to their homes and property following the storm. That may leave residents like Hopkins who can’t get connected with roofers or contractors vulnerable to scams, shoddy work or unlicensed companies.

“I know that time is critical and I think people have that sense of urgency and they want to get back

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Glass fire 50% contained after destroying 600 homes in California’s Napa-Sonoma area

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The devastating Glass fire burning in Napa and Sonoma counties is now halfway contained, with evacuation orders remaining in place for thousands while damage inspection teams continue to assess the wildfire’s extensive destruction, authorities say.

a group of fruit hanging from a tree: The vineyards at the Somerston Estate Winery & Vineyards, photographed on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 in St. Helena, California. Wineries like Somerston are forgoing a 2020 vintage due to the ongoing wildfire season, which has seen two major wildfires in the region so far.

© Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS
The vineyards at the Somerston Estate Winery & Vineyards, photographed on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 in St. Helena, California. Wineries like Somerston are forgoing a 2020 vintage due to the ongoing wildfire season, which has seen two major wildfires in the region so far.

Since igniting outside of Calistoga on Sept. 27 and growing intensely toward Santa Rosa in its first 48 hours due to heavy wind gusts, the fire has now consumed at least 600 homes, Cal Fire’s Sonoma-Lake-Napa unit said in a Tuesday morning incident update. The state fire agency reports the blaze is now 66,840 acres and 50% contained.

Emergency officials in the past few days have reduced some mandatory evacuation orders to voluntary warnings, including all of the cities of Calistoga and St. Helena, the Sonoma County community of Kenwood and some neighborhoods on the east side of Santa Rosa inside city limits.

But numerous other orders have remained in place for more than a week, and some newer orders, particularly in parts of northern Napa County near the Lake County line, have been issued as recently as Sunday afternoon. Cal Fire says more than 21,000 structures are still considered threatened.

Up-to-date evacuation information, including details about the repopulation process for evacuated residents, is posted regularly to the Nixle webpages for the Santa Rosa Police Department, the city of Calistoga, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office and the Napa County Office of Emergency Services. Updates are also available via the social media pages for those entities and Cal Fire LNU.

a sign in front of a cloudy sky: The Glass fire in Napa County along CA-128 on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 in Calistoga, California.

© Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles

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