Sunday, September 4, 2022

Excitement on McGaw Road


Yesterday my husband and I decided to brave all the hubbub of a grand opening celebration and pay a visit to Columbia’s newest hardware store: Clark’s, on McGaw Road near Wegman’s. We’ve long been a fan of their Ellicott City location, and we were in the market for a new bird feeder. (Long story)

I wish I had thought to take photographs because it was quite the festival atmosphere. We were greeted by the sight of one of those enormous, red flailing things one usually sees at car dealerships. There was free Kona Ice, a barbecue food truck, an outdoor display for Big Green Egg outdoor grills, and more. I was particularly fascinated by the onsite chainsaw carving demonstration. You can get an idea of all the excitement by checking out their Facebook page.

The photo I want to share today is one from 2017. It’s from the Ellicott City store, of course.

What you are seeing here is helpful Clark’s employees assisting my husband in dismantling a patio table so we could fit it in our car. Essentially, it’s the story of two teachers who went to the hardware store with a limited budget and bought the end of season floor model. On clearance.

The people at Clark’s treated us like valued customers who had just spent thousands to furnish an upscale patio and pool area. They truly won my heart that day. I posted this photo with the caption, “Well, what d’you know? They really are helpful!”

We’ve pretty much been Clark’s customers ever since, although we’re happy to pop in to Kendall’s when we’re in the neighborhood.

Big box stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s have their place. But, honestly, I tend to get lost there and I often can’t find anyone to help me. That’s why I was so excited to see Clark’s was opening a Columbia location. Our visit yesterday reinforced our positive feelings. 

Someone helped us right away. Everyone was friendly. We walked away with a beautiful new bird feeder, a big bag of birdseed, plus a goodie bag full of products, samples, and coupons.Yes, we could have had free Kona Ice, too, but at that point we were dazed by all the excitement. 

This is how you know you are getting on in years - - when your excitement for the week is the grand opening of the new hardware store.

As I sat down to write this morning, something occurred to me. “Are the Clarks of the hardware store related to the Clarks of Elioak Farm?” (Remember, I’ve only been here 23 years. I don’t know all this stuff.) So, I started digging.

I learned that the original Clark’s business was started in 1845. I learned that they have contributed paint to Clark’s Elioak Farm to keep the Enchanted Forest attractions looking vibrant and appealing. I learned that the business has been written up quite a bit over the years, from the Washington Post to the Howard County Historical Society Legacy newsletter.

Then, in an article from the Howard County Times, I found what I was looking for.

Historical Society offers a lesson on Clarksville's origin , Susan Soldavin, Howard County Times

Short answer: yes, they are related. To learn more, read the article. But for me the head-smacking moment comes in the first sentence of the article.

Have you ever wondered how Clarksville got its name? 

This is a bit painful to admit. No, I hadn’t ever truly thought about it and when I read that sentence light dawned and I felt really, really small. 

Clark family 

Clark’s Hardware

Clark’s Elioak Farm



My recommendation for the day is to pay a visit to Clark’s Ace Hardware in Columbia and welcome them to the neighborhood. And never stop learning about your community. There’s so much out there waiting to be discovered.

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