Montclair hardware store to close after 131 years in business

Saunders Hardware in Montclair is one of the oldest, operating businesses in the town.

Matt Trapani and Amanda Eustice

May 15, 2024, 12:34 AM

Updated 13 days ago


An Essex County hardware store will close its doors after more than a century in business.
Tom Vultee has stood behind the register at Saunders Hardware on Valley Road in Montclair for the past 26 years. He is often seen greeting customers and being their go-to help to find whatever they need. But the customers will soon have to go elsewhere.
"We get people coming in every single day saying goodbye. ‘I've been shopping here for 40 years, 50 years,’ you know? All expressing their best wishes,” Vultee says.
Vultee says the store is one of the oldest, operating businesses in Montclair. He purchased the store in 1998 from the previous owner. He said the decision to sell was bittersweet because he spent the past 40 years in the hardware business.
"It was in the cards to sell it. I've been trying to sell it for many years, and you had COVID and then you had interest rates and then you had inflation and all not good things to sell a business in,” he says. “I'm passed retirement age, so my wife wants me to retire – I want to retire - and this was an opportunity, so we took it.”
Going out of business sales start at 30% off and will gradually increase. Vultee says that if not everything is sold, he will donate some of it. He says the store will officially close once a majority of the inventory is gone.
The building has been sold, but there is still no word on what it will become.
Vultee says he plans to spend his retirement with his grandchildren and fishing.

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