San Diego Hardware Celebrates 125 Years in Business

| January 2, 2018 | 0 Comments

Left to right are Councilmember Chris Cate, Hannah Fleming (daughter co-owner Rip Fleming), Bryan Haynsworth (son of current co-owner Bill), Bill Haynsworth, current co-owner; Donald Deroy Haynsworth, past owner; Eric Young, community representative Mayor’s office and model Kelly Zive, the Hardware Lady, pose at the 125th Anniversary Celebration for San Diego Hardware.

San Diego Hardware, offering the largest selection of decorative hardware in San Diego, recently celebrated 125 years in business with a ceremony, a party for the public and recognition from the Mayor and city officials who declared this “San Diego Hardware Day.” Founded in 1892 on Dec. 8 in San Diego, the company is still owned by one of the original founding families and has evolved over the decades to keep current with a booming Internet business and busy Kearny Mesa showroom.

Leading up to the anniversary, San Diego Hardware conducted a search for the identity of the original “Hardware Lady” that appeared in the store’s advertisements. With the help of the public, the owners learned the woman was Fanny Sherman Sloane from a pioneering San Diego family. At the celebration event, a model posed for photos in a gown identical to the one in the photo. The gown will remain on display in the store.

“We’re excited to have deep roots in San Diego with now the fifth generation of family working at the store,” said co-owner Bill Haynsworth. “125 years in business can only be achieved through our wonderful San Diego customers.”

Fanny Sherman Sloane, according to our sources, was born in 1871 and was the daughter of Captain Matthew Sherman and Augusta Barrett, both prominent citizens. Captain Sherman was Mayor of San Diego from 1891 to 1893. She was in her early twenties when she posed for the photograph and no doubt, her father knew the original founders
of the company: Fred Gazlay, John M. Wood, George M. Hawley and George T. Hawley, who purchased the retail store of Todd & Hawley, 658 Fifth Street, and changed the name to San Diego Hardware & Company.

Current co-owner Bill Haynsworth is the great nephew of Fred Gazlay. Bill Haynsworth bought the business, together with co-owner Rip Fleming, in 1983 from Haynsworth’s father. Haynsworth’s son Bryan currently works at the store, making him the fifth generation to help with the business. Daughter of store co-owner Rip Fleming, Hannah Fleming, also works at the store as marketing manager.

Over the years, the store sold many different items from pots and pans to Winchester rifles, cast iron stoves and iceboxes until Haynsworth and Fleming focused their core products on decorative hardware.

Located downtown for more than a century, in 2006 the company moved to Kearny Mesa to better serve its customers with a larger space, freeway access and convenient parking. The current showroom is 15,000 square feet and features interactive product displays with more than 7,000 door knobs and pulls, 4,000 hinges and 1,000 door locks on display. In addition, the second floor offers a plumbing showroom with sinks, faucets and other kitchen and bath products. Contractors, interior designers, and homeowners can see and try the actual hardware in a setting that is comfortable and accented with historic details from the original store.

Not shy to embrace technology, the owners of San Diego Hardware run a separate and prolific online business —, offering more than 4,000 hinges for everything from 3,000-pound doors to jewelry boxes.

“We keep evolving to meet the times and will continue to meet the needs of today’s customer,” said Haynsworth. “We’ll be launching a new e-commerce website soon for San Diego Hardware.”

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