For over 30 years, Carolina Hardware has been a staple for Lincoln County gardeners.
The store has been a part of Sheila Reepâ€™s life since her mother Dot Dellinger built the place in 1975.
Reep says the store started out small and was only half the size it is today. When Dellinger retired, she wanted to keep her business in the family, so she sold Carolina Hardware to her niece and her husband, Skip and Joyce Barnes.
Now a full-time employee, Reep has always been a part of Carolina Hardware.
â€œI always worked for my mom part-time in the spring,â€ said Reep. â€œNow Iâ€™m the everything woman.â€
Although the garden side of the business is Reepâ€™s bread and butter, she is there to help customers with whatever they need.
At Carolina Hardware, customers can find just about anything they need for their lawns and gardens, pools or to fill their hardware needs.
Gardeners can pick up everything from bulk mulch to greenery at the store. Carolina Hardware carries one of the most popular and versatile types of decorative flowers. Known as proven winners, these consist of a variety of flowers in large patio pots and are popular right now due to their versatility.
â€œThe proven winners and patio pots are a trend right now instead of so many flower beds,â€ Reep said. â€œYou can put them anywhere.â€
Carolina Hardware also offers hanging baskets with blooms or ferns, lots of perennials and annuals, the popular Japanese maple trees, blueberry and grape vines and herbs.
According to Reep, herb gardens are another current trend among green thumbs.
â€œItâ€™s time to plant herbs,â€ said Reep. â€œI have a big variety.â€
Vegetables are another specialty at Carolina Hardware. Reep says she has just about any type of vegetable you can think of, including squash, cucumbers, zucchini and eggplant. The store is especially known for its 20 different varieties of peppers and tomatoes.
Last year, the store sold 25,000 vegetables out of its greenhouse.
Pools are another big part of Carolina Hardwareâ€™s business.
â€œWeâ€™ve done pools for probably 30 years,â€ Reep said.
The store carries BioGuard products and all employees who deal with pools are professionally trained. They can test water and take care of all chemical, supply and accessory needs.
Carolina Hardware also offers pool service, including cleaning, opening and closing pools and pool filter sand changing. In addition, the store carries patio furniture and garden gifts to help customers create their own garden or pool side oases.
Lawn, garden and pool sales are the biggest part of Carolina Hardwareâ€™s business this time of year, but there is more to the store. Power equipment is another big seller, including products from Husqvarna and Snapper.
Reep says there is even a lawnmower shop behind the store where customers can bring different pieces of equipment for repair.
â€œWe have two guys that work on everything,â€ said Reep.
Concrete is also available at Carolina Hardware, one of the only places in town to offer it. There are fern stands and bird baths, both ceramic and concrete.
Gardeners can also pick up the mulch, gravel, stone, sand or top soil they may need.
Carolina Hardware is essentially a one stop shop for gardeners and pool owners. Itâ€™s also a great place for anyone who loves flowers and wants to add some beauty to the yard.
The peak time for flowers runs from about April 15 through June 1. Now is the perfect time to stop by Carolina Hardware and get that garden in the spring of things.
Want to go? Carolina Hardware is located at 969 Reepsville Rd. in Lincolnton. You may contact the store at (704) 735-7129.
by Allyson Levine