Stories and memories flowed at D.E. Turner Hardware and Co. in downtown Mooresville. The father-and-son team of Jack and Danny Moore recently shared about their time of working together and learning through the years.
Jack, who continues to work at 88 years of age, pointed out various items of history in the shop. He started working at the historic business in 1946 at the age of 15. He did take some time off from working when he headed off for military duty, serving in Korea from 1952-56. However, his dad held his job for him. Danny noted that his dad was told that “when he came back from service, you will have a job here if you want it. And dad said, ‘Well, I will.’”
Danny, 50, joined his dad in the business in 1987 after he graduated high school at the age of 17. And the pair has been working together ever since — about 33 years now. They work side by side, both learning from each other and teaching.
Customers came and went on Thursday, and Danny was quick to offer assistance to each — one of the lessons he learned from his dad.
“Always be nice to the customer,” Jack said. Often in the bigger stores, they don’t want to wait on you, he shared.
“How to treat people is one thing” Danny noted among things he has learned from his dad. “It’s very easy to be nice to people.”
Another essential thing that Jack said he was passing along to his son was “hardware” he said. “We know where everything is in the store. We have no computers. We know where it’s all supposed to be.”
And if you don’t see it in the shop, just ask Jack or Danny — they have additional inventory that can’t be seen, but one can more than likely find it here.
Jack relayed a story of a lady asking why they didn’t put it all out where their inventory could all be seen, to which he replied, “Well, then you wouldn’t need us.”
Jack continues to show up to work early each morning, opening the shop at 7:30 a.m., and he is usually greeted by a group of friends, retired guys who have made it a part of their morning routine to come and sit and swap stories. The number of those who visit has dwindled through the years, but their visit is a favorite part of the Moores’ day.
It’s from this group, along with his dad, that Danny has learned some history of the area.
“I’ve gained knowledge by listening, rather than by talking,” Danny shared.
There’s lots of history in the shop that Jack will pass along, too. He pointed out an old photograph of the hardware store and the dentist which had a practice upstairs. He also showed his old telephone during the years when there was a switchboard operator and very few phones in town. Each had their own number. He was No. 26.
Stories were told of how people used to garden and do their own canning. Danny shared that he recalled sitting on the ice cream churn as his dad would crank it and watching him mow the grass and he would tell his dad, “I can’t wait until I’m old enough to do the cranking and mow the yard” to which his dad replied, “Well son, when you get old enough to do that, you are not going to want to.”
Learning to work and gaining that work ethic is another lesson Danny said he learned from his dad.
“I work to live,” he said. “How many people my age do you know that are still working?”
“Unless they are a store greeter,” Danny said. “There aren’t many. Dad doesn’t want to just sit and do nothing and that’s why he hasn’t quit working. He doesn’t want to go home and just sit down.”
A lady was in the shop recently, Danny noted, who asked his dad when he was going to retire. He told her “I think I will just wait until I get old.” That brought some laughter, a sound that was heard often between the father and son pair as they shared stories and favorite memories.
They strive to be able to help their customers as much as possible. Danny shared that he remembers his dad telling people that “if you have something that’s not working, if you can bring the old piece with you, it makes it easier for us to replace it for you.”
So, one day he gets a call from someone having plumbing problems, Danny continued. And this person tried to explain the issue with the pipe under the sink. “Dad couldn’t quite make out what he was saying the way it was explained.” So he told the man to just bring whatever it was he was having trouble with and he would look at it and see if it was something they could fix.”
It wasn’t quite 30 minutes later when this person came carrying a double sink into the store. This made quite the picture, and Jack was astounded by him bring his whole sink.
“This was kind of memorable,” Danny said with a smile.
Through the years of working together, they have learned each other’s habits and schedules, Danny said. “Makes you pretty intertwined, I guess, as a family. It’s all become commonplace and familiar and nothing out of the ordinary. It’s what we are used to, and maybe take for granted, but it is still special,” he shared.
And while Jack and Danny have been in the forefront of the business, other family members have been a part of the business throughout the years, including Jack’s wife, Barbara Jean, his brothers, Freddie and John and daughters, Donna, Nancy and Jackie, who have worked behind the scenes.
“It’s always been my family” who has helped him with the business, Jack said.
When asked what it has meant for the two of them to work together, they both smiled and said “you don’t have to worry about your employees and it’s good job security when you own the business.”
The business is in their blood and the two spend their day together helping those who walk through the door with no thought of doing anything differently.
Besides, Jack said, “I’m too old.” He is just thankful every time he has a birthday, he said with a laugh.
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