Blog post written by Michele Molotsky, Logan Circle Main Street Manager
A couple of years ago, I found myself “between jobs” and so I went over to Logan Hardware to see if they were hiring. Although I had little retail experience, they hired me as a cashier. During the job interview with Tim Hamm, now the store manager, he told me Logan Hardware is the place of second chances.
The idea of second chances came back to me when I went to a book party for Gina Schaefer’s new book, “Recover Hardware” at Whitman Walker this week. I’ve known and admired Gina for many years. I first met Gina when Logan Hardware and I were both new to the neighborhood. It was located on P street (where Old Dominion Bank is now).
Gina opened Logan Hardware after she was laid off from a tech job. At the time, she didn’t know much about hardware and went to “Ace University” to learn how to manage an Ace franchise. Now, Gina and her husband, Marc Friedman have 13 stores called A Few Cool Hardware Stores. I can’t say they own the stores because Gina and Marc have transferred ownership of the stores to the employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.
I used to go into Logan Hardware and say things like “I need a doohickey” and always got help and no one laughed at me. I got to know Gina better when I worked on a neighborhood youth employment project with For the Love of Children. I didn’t know it then, but Gina’s willingness to hire young people with no job experience was a piece of her bigger corporate culture which also includes hiring “second chance” people such as returning citizens and people in recovery. Recovery Hardware is Gina’s memoir of opening her first hardware store near Whitman-Walker’s Addiction Services program and how her effort to help build community in Logan Circle evolved into a safe space for countless people in recovery to rebuild their lives. I’m very excited to have my autographed copy of Recovery Hardware and look forward to reading it. If you want to read it, too, let’s have a book chat.