In 1952 there were no big box stores, Ventura Boulevard was dotted with a just few new small businesses, and Woodland Hills moved at a slower pace.
As a point of reference, St. Mel Church opened in 1956, Topanga Plaza opened in 1964, and Gemco (now Target) opened in 1967.
What had been the sleepy town of Girard after the war turned into a hub for aerospace corporations – Rocketdyne, Hughes, Litton, Lockheed – and they brought families with them.
At the heart of Woodland Hills, at Topanga and Ventura, was Franklin’s Hardware. It sold everything from plumbing to electrical to garden. It was the place to go for do-it-yourselfers, handymen and brand new homeowners.
Customers say the thing about Franklin’s was that they always had the answer. Whether it was a specific bolt or screw, a piece of pipe, the right color paint or a duplicate house key, the staff always had it or knew how to get it.
The business grew and grew and sustained the community for 70 years. From the moment it opened its doors, Franklin’s has always been a family business.
Chip Kurzeka, who has been at the helm for the past 50 years, remembers coming to the store with his dad on the weekends to help out. Now, a third generation, Chip and Kim’s son Mike, has been working alongside his father for 10 years.
According to Kim, “The main reason for the store’s success has always been our knowlegable employees, and the service we offer, which remain as the most important objectives today. As we say, those are our ‘tools of the trade.’”
The community support has sustained Franklin’s over 70 years, and loyal customers have “become part of the family.”
But as Kim says, life now moves at a faster pace than ever, and Mike keeps abreast of new products, current merchandising ideas and technological advances that keep the store in top shape and relevant. These days, Franklin’s still offers the traditional hardware store merchandise, as well as knife, scissor and garden tool sharpening, carpet cleaner rental, small hand and power tool rentals, computer paint, glass cutting, screen cutting and repair and lamp repair.
The family is celebrating 70 years of success this weekend with a series of anniversary sales and events for the entire community.
The anniversary sale will kick off Friday, April 22, and continue Saturday and Sunday. Each day there will be a daily raffle drawing for prizes, and Saturday’s big drawing will be for a Weber Spirit BBQ.
On Friday receive $5 off any purchase of $25 or more on regular priced items.
The first 200 customers on Saturday morning will receive a free five-gallon bucket to fill with merchandise and receive a 20% discount. On Saturday, also enjoy a BBQ demonstration and sampling by Traeger and Big Green Egg.
Sunday features a hot dog BBQ lunch available by donation. Franklin’s will match the amount of money donated and give it to the West Valley Boys & Girls Club. Keystone members of the club will be at Franklin’s all day to assist.
Franklin’s Hardware is located at 21936 Ventura Blvd. Call (818) 347-6800 or visit franklinsacehardware.com.