SARANAC LAKE — If you, too, are stocking up on shovels and leaf blowers, Justin Williams and Don Poulsen can help you out.
The two longtime Saranac Lakers — Williams grew up here, and Poulsen has lived here for 20 years — have recently taken over as co-managers at Coakley Home and Hardware, and have been busy filling the aisles with EGO power blowers and the sidewalk outside with pumpkins.
The hardware store — owned by Bill Coakley, who also owns the original store in Canton — will not be making major changes now that Williams and Poulsen have taken over from former store manager Brittany Sternberg. The Saranac Lake Coakley’s opened in 2005; the Coakley’s in Canton predated it by over a century, opening in 1902.
“There’ll be subtle changes. We’re not going to rearrange aisles,” said Poulsen. “The bar has already been set high here.”
An essential business, Coakley’s didn’t close when COVID-19 hit, and in fact has seen business grow over the months since the pandemic shut down much of the state’s economy in March.
“Instead of going to Disney World, people did bathroom renovation,” said Williams, who has worked at Coakley’s for 11 years, moving from cashier to warehouse worker to assistant manager.
“I’ve worked every single position in this store,” he said.
“As soon as the flowers arrived, business jumped significantly,” he continued. Folks were coming in to get plants for their pandemic vegetable gardens. Now they’re stocking up on antifreeze, snowblowers, chainsaws and plumbing supplies, in anticipation of the coming winter.
“I’m very excited to be here,” said Poulsen, who spent 35 years in retail before coming to Coakley’s.
“Super-excited,” said Williams, switching buttons on a new black and Kelly green leaf blower and then heading outside to check out the seasonal pumpkins.