In his mid-70s, Frank Hammer wasn’t quite finished working with Home Hardware. This, after starting with the company in 1957 in Ontario — when it was known as Hollinger Hardware. It didn’t become Home Hardware until 1964.
At the end of 1995, Hammer was retired after a long career that saw him rise from an employee on the ground floor, to western area manager for the company. After many years working that job from Edmonton, Hammer would join his son Paul in a Home Hardware building centre business in Alberta. He also has a daughter, Christine. He did that for almost five years and, eventually, he moved to Parksville, a place in which he and his wife, Elaine, had always wanted to live.
Once on Vancouver Island, Hammer found himself needing a little more to do in his spare time, so he called on some folks he knew from his Home Hardware days. Bill and Carol Ormiston own the Parksville Home Hardware and had worked with Hammer since Bill’s family took over the store in 1985.
The local couple were more than happy to give Hammer a part-time job, a job he was on for the last three years.
Hammer, 79, has officially retired and the Ormiston’s recently paid tribute to the long-time Home Hardware man.
“I had no experience when I first started,” Hammer recalled, “but it was a great job. The first thing I did on my first day was unload two truckloads of netting. I’ll never forget that.”
His job as western area manager had him traveling across western Canada.
“I’ve spent more time in airports than you can shake a stick at,” he said, adding he has met a lot of great people in the business as well.
Over his 17-year-plus career with Home Hardware, Hammer saw the company’s humble beginning grow to a 1,050-store chain across the country, employing close to 900 people corporately, by the time he first retired.
To complete his career with the company in Parksville with the Ormistons, has been a full-circle journey for Hammer.
“It’s been great,” he said. “I’d always wanted to move here and we’ve never regretted it.”
Sharing his years of experience and knowledge with the Parksville Home Hardware crew, Hammer was a great co-worker, said Carol.
“Frank has been a huge inspiration for our staff,” added Bill. “We will all miss him, as he has been an enjoyable and happy person to work with.”
On his last day, Hammer decided to donate his wages to the Salvation Army, to help local people in need.
“I think it would be great, working for a day and having those wages got to a charity,” he explained. “It’s the right thing to do.”
Now going into his second retirement, Hammer said he plans to spend more time in his garden, look after his home and remain active in St. Edmunds church.
The Ormistons said he will be missed, and thanked Hammer for his years of service with Home Hardware — especially their own store for the last three years.