Schauer Hardware store, an anchor for more than a decade on Madison Street, just got a face-lift. The gray façade hadn’t been updated since the Schauer family bought the store 14 years ago. “It was distressed, worn-looking,” says manager Richard Schauer. “And with all the improvements on Madison, we were looking like the old guy on the block.”

After two years of deliberation, the hardware store owner retained Steve Kirsch, a local designer and contractor to do the job. Kirsch has already performed makeovers on Madison for Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor and Moss.

Kirsch covered the gray with bright coats of Honey Sand paint. New signs were mounted announcing the store’s inventory of housewares, plumbing and electrical products.

Two much larger signs trumpet “Free Parking in Rear” and the store’s hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

“If they drive down the street, you gotta make them see it,” Schauer declares. To this end, Schauer’s original floodlights were sandblasted and painted to shine on the classic storefront, which is at 7449 Madison.

Work began on March 19. And the makeover job was complicated with repairs for damage done a few days before St. Patrick’s Day, when a car hopped a curb and found its way between multiple impediments to hit a corner of the storefront. Repair work was delayed so as not to disrupt the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.

So far, all the feedback about the new façade has been positive, according to Schauer. Many customers, in fact, are noticing the store for the first time. Schauer says he’s peppered with questions like, “When did you move in? Are you the new owners? Did you make the store larger?”

There are a few finishing touches still to be applied to the façade. The Honey Sand will be bordered by black trim. More signs will be added. And the twin flagpoles will be raised.

One thing isn’t going to change: The hammer will remain welded to the front door handle.

John Rice

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.