PORTLAND — Decorum Hardware will close Saturday, ending a 30-year run as one of the oldest businesses in the Old Port and a favorite resource for homeowners, builders and architects seeking hard-to-find kitchen and bathroom fixtures.

The recession, Internet shopping and limited parking combined to put the specialty hardware store at 231 Commercial St. out of business, said owner Nick Harding.

“It all kind of took its toll on us,” Harding said Monday, sitting on a stone bench on the sidewalk outside his store.

Nostalgia Lighting, which has operated as part of Decorum from the start, will continue at another location, Harding said. He hopes to find a suitable site with low rent and plenty of parking in the Portland area within a few weeks.

“We’re a destination store,” Harding said. “Eighty to 90 percent of our business is special order. We don’t need to be in the Old Port.”

Harding said he also hopes to reopen Decorum at another location in a few months, possibly with a smaller showroom but definitely with more off-street parking.

Decorum did well for years in the Old Port, Harding said, first on Fore Street, then at Commercial and Union streets, and finally at its present location. Many historic homes in Greater Portland have been restored with Harding’s help.

But orders dropped off dramatically during the past two years, Harding said. Many homeowners and contractors put restoration projects and new construction on hold because of the recession.

Orders have been picking up in recent weeks, with calls coming from contractors and architects who are starting new jobs or restarting projects that were put on hold.

“We’re seeing things turn around, but it’s not enough,” Harding said. “We won’t get orders from them until October. Besides, I need a break.”

Customers who appreciate Harding’s specialty products and custom service were disappointed to learn that Decorum will close.

They include Barbara Adams, a Gainesville, Fla., resident who has shopped at Decorum on regular trips to visit family members in Maine. Over the years, she has purchased everything from hardware for her kitchen cabinets to lights for her bathroom.

“It’s hard to see these independent stores go out of business,” Adams said. “Whenever people couldn’t find what they were looking for anywhere else, I always recommended that they look here.”

 

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

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