Everything is for sale at Tenenbaum True Value Hardware, a family-owned business in Lakeview that is closing after 98 years.
“Every day I come to work, it gets harder and harder to keep it together because this is my other home, this is my family, my customers are my family, my employees,” said Pam Lipshutz, owner
Those loyal employees include Christine Potthast, bookkeeper since 1959.
“I started after I graduated from high school,” she said. “My dad was a janitor here and he said, ‘Maury, give my daughter a job!’ and I’ve been here ever since.”
With its big red sign, this Lakeview fixture on Belmont Avenue was started in 1923 by Pam and Steve Lipshutz’s maternal grandfather, Henry Tenenbaum. Their father Maury took it over before turning it over to his kids. Before his 2019 death, he encouraged Pam and Steve to sell the store for better quality of life.
“He felt we did not have time to ourselves,” Pam said. “Both of us are here six days a week.”
Pam started as a cashier, working one day a week when she was eight years old. Today, the front register where she started is always accompanied by family dog Bailey. He is a just one part of a very personal touch that has brought neighborhood customers here for decades. Many are on a first name basis.
“It’s not how can I help you, it’s hey Jim, how are you doing, hey Bob,” Steve said. “They discuss their family, we discuss our family.”
Pam and Steve Lipshutz had several offers for the building, but they didn’t take the highest bidder. Instead, they chose a developer who will keep the neighbors in mind as they develop what is likely to be apartments.
Currently, everything in the store in on sale. That includes some old relics.
Tenenbaum True Value Hardware will officially close this summer according to ABC 7 Chicago.