Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Cat at Charles Street Supply

We Back Bay residents are lucky to have Back Bay Hardware on Newbury Street. They recently relocated into a smaller space much too soon after finishing a complicated renovation/expansion of their long-time, very crowded store. They lost their lease about a year later. But they moved down the street and we all breathed a sigh of relief knowing we'd be lost without them.

The folks in Beacon Hill are equally lucky to have Charles Street Supply, which has been in the same spot for more than 60 years and is run by the son of one of the original partners. It is old-school and crammed to the rafters, too. Both stores have almost anything you'd need in the way of cleaning supplies, tools, hardware, light bulbs, gardening equipment, seasonal items, and so on. Both stores also have all those things you don't need immediately but know you will need eventually, so strolling the aisles is instructive and strangely reassuring.

Both stores have seasoned, helpful staff who can talk you through just about almost anything you're contemplating doing. They might even come over and do it for you (if they like you or fear for your safety). Or they might give you the number of a good handyman.

But Charles Street has a slight edge because they have a shop cat:

I can never remember her name, but she has been around a very long time. She's sweet and friendly. Lately she's been looking a bit scruffy from age but but she's still beautiful to us. And she's a total retail professional, greeting customers in queenly fashion and showing off out front:

Long may that tail of hers wave.


  1. What a beautiful and distinguished senior ladycat! Shop cats make the place more homey and trusting, if I ever have a shop I will have shop cat(s)(s)(s)..!

  2. Knowing that you are fans of Woodstock, VT, I will assume that you know of the shop cats at Gillinghams. Sarah and Ada secretly own the place, I believe.

  3. Her name is Totes and I just got to spend a little quality time with her yesterday as she lounged and purred atop a box of copy paper!


    1. Totes, yes... thank you! She deserves a more regal name, imho.


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