Trevor and Ashley Lindsay recently bought the business from Joe McWilliams, who decided to retire after 41 years.
“We're liking it,” said Trevor Lindsay. “It's fun being in here and helping out the community.”
The store at 111 N. Main St. has anchored downtown Aztec since at least the 1920s, when it was known as E.O. Dial Hardware.
Joe McWilliams' father, Lyle, bought out his partner, Shelby Armstrong, in 1971. Joe McWilliams bought the business from his father in 1982 and ran it until this spring.
The Lindsays said they intend to stay, and hope to pass on the business some day to their own children or another local owner. That may be long into the future — their daughter is 2 years old.
“We expect to be here for a while,” Trevor said.
Trevor was raised in Aztec, and worked most recently as a lease operator for Dugan Production Corp., an oil and gas company. Ashley was born and raised in Farmington and was a teacher before they bought the hardware store.
They took over Aztec Hardware on April 1 after securing bank financing.
“We just always wanted to do something for ourselves and not work for anybody,” Ashley said.
The shop has a 5,000 square foot retail floor that includes everything one would expect at a hardware store, from chain saws to nails. Aztec residents said they were relieved McWilliams found a buyer. He had said he would close the store if no buyer was found.
“Everyone was out on the prowl to find owners to buy that because no one wanted to see it close,” said Christa Rommé, executive director of the Aztec Chamber of Commerce.
The store is part of a stretch of several blocks of historic buildings constructed with locally fired brick in the late-19th and early 20th centuries. Main Street was designated as a state Historic District in 1982, and added to the National Register in 1985, according to the Aztec Museum Association.
On Wednesday, Mary Lou Price of Aztec came in to buy screws for a shelf installation. She said she likes being able to shop locally.
“It's convenient for me because I live in Aztec,” she said. “It's saving me a trip to town (Farmington), and I think the prices are pretty comparable once you figure gas.”
Price said she and her husband, Clyde, are longtime customers.
“They're very nice here,” she said.
Chuck Slothower can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4638. Follow him on Twitter @DTChuck.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misspelled the Lindsays' last name. The Daily Times regrets the error.