Brookside Hardware is back five months after devastating fire

By Brian Sweeney
Less than five months after a raging fire leveled the business, Brookside Hardware has opened for business in a new building on Route 28, Margaretville.
Company owner Will Finch said the new store opened for business on Saturday. Stock is arriving on a daily basis, but Mr. Finch said the store is already about three-quarters full.
Construction on the 3,500-square-foot building was started in May, with framing getting underway on June 4. Mr. Finch said the new store is larger than the one it replaces and will carry more inventory, particularly hardware and home goods.
In addition to the retail space, an adjoining section of approximately 2,000 square feet serves as a storage area for feed and other items.
The repair garage, which was formerly part of the main store, was previously rebuilt and has been operating for about two months.
Mr. Finch said site grading and enlarging the parking lot will be the final pieces of the project.
The March 5 fire completely destroyed the old wood frame Brookside building. Mr. Finch pointed out the old store had also suffered from flood damage — particularly in 1996 — because of its proximity to the East Branch of the Delaware River. The new store is elevated about six feet higher and is not located in the floodplain.
Mr. Finch said that during last week’s rain that caused localized flooding, it was a relief not to have to be concerned about the store taking on water.
He is also happy just to have the “open” sign up again.
“It’s good to be back in business. We have all staff back at work,” Mr. Finch stated. “We appreciate everybody’s patience and we’re glad to have our customers back – that’s what makes us.”
The former Brookside location, where the store had operated for about 20 years, was devastated by the March 5 blaze. More than 100 firefighters from Delaware and Ulster counties fought the blaze, but the combination of an old wooden structure and strong winds proved to be insurmountable.
Despite the tragic loss of the hardware store, the used car portion of the business was operational the following day. Trailers were soon moved in and operation continued on a limited basis.