SHIRLEY -- There's a new hardware store in the village, right where the old one was.
Lambert's Hardware Store on Main Street is now Moore's Lumber & Hardware.
Small by today's big box standards, the hardware store stayed in business for over a century, according to longtime former owner James Thibault, who recently sold the place, lock, stock and barrel. Literally.
The store's success hinged on is central location, friendly service and an eclectic inventory that is still a hallmark today. It's a surprising mix of items large and small, from snow shovels and trash barrels to light bulbs and duct tape, even a tiny, tinkly bell. The new owner is still discovering finds, he said.
The new owner is Shirley resident C.J. Moore, whose family business, Moore Lumber & Hardware, has been an anchor on Ayer's Main Street for generations.
Thibault announced the turnover in a letter that the board of selectmen read in public Monday night.
Having decided some time ago to retire, Thibault, who is the town's wiring inspector and has served on a number of town boards and committees, had said he'd been quietly seeking the right buyer for his hardware store, which he owned and operated for many years. He hoped the new owner would continue the store's tradition in the community, he said.
Now, it's a done deal and the store is open for business, with a new logo over the door.
During a brief interview there this week, Moore said he'd bought the place about two weeks ago and would likely hold a grand opening in mid-August. Meantime, it will function much as the Ayer store does only on a smaller scale, with a couple of in-store employees and a manager he hasn't hired yet.
There will be some renovations, he said, pointing out where walls would come down in one area to make way for a line of Benjamin Moore paints and in another to stack pine boards and moldings. Otherwise, he plans to retain the same basic store layout. he said.
Asked about expansion plans, he envisions adding a building in back for lumber sales and prep, he said, describing a downsized version of the drive-in lumber business he operates in Ayer.