In the era of big boxes, a day for the little guy

It began quietly, as an email to 40 friends. But when a steady stream of customers began coming through the door before the family-owned Chagrin Hardware had even opened for the day on Saturday, it was clear that it had turned into much more than that.

The idea started with Jim Black, a resident of Chagrin Falls, a close-knit village in Cleveland’s eastern suburbs that is part artist colony and part bedroom community. Black posted the email to a group of his friends. “Let’s show our support for one of our local businesses,” he wrote. “I challenge everyone to spend AT LEAST $20 at the hardware on the 21st.”

Although his email referred to the idea of a “Cash Mob” or the notion to “Occupy CF Hardware,” he really had no political agenda. And it wasn’t meant as a protest against the big-box stores that have created an ever-tightening circle around the community.

It was just a way to thank Chagrin Hardware’s owners for a beloved shop that has been a fixture in the village since 1857.

“These are good people who needed our support,” Black said. “It’s just that simple.”

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