Author photo

By Sheila Zanghi
contributing writer 

So long Pioneer True Value Home Center, thanks for all the memories


October 15, 2022

I was afraid of retirement. My fear was based on the experience I had when I left my position with Security Pacific Bank in 1981. I was the Division Personnel Officer with about 4,000 employees.

That job consisted of taking care of personnel issues for about 30 branches, many of which were in Hollywood. It was a very busy and stressful job. When my husband told me he wanted to look for a hardware store to buy I decided the time was right for me to leave the bank. I looked at my calendar and noted that the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana was a couple of months away and promptly put in my six-week notice. I had a special interest in the Royal Family as my dad was stationed in Weymouth, England before D-Day and had become friends with the family he stayed with. Mrs. Roper would send me books about the Royal Family almost every Christmas and I was hooked. My parents even named me after the daughter and that's how I ended up with my name Sheila.

Anyway, I took a year off and in the beginning my semi-retirement was a bust. I didn't have the time constraints associated with a job, so my tasks took up all available time. Dishes? I could do them tomorrow, or next week, or next month. I did have two perfectly good 16 place settings available, after all. And, don't even mention vacuuming.

I did the only thing I could do to keep sane - I enrolled in the local Antelope Valley College. I had my degree in psychology, but I needed to take classes in accounting. I was taking 22 units which meant I was there daily from 9 a.m. to at least 4 p.m. My tight scheduled did the trick. It focused me on the tasks. As the old saying goes, "Give a busy person a job and it will get done." It's true. We bought Old Towne Hardware and changed the name to Pioneer True Value Home Center in 1983. In 2017 my husband of 43 years, Don, died of esophagus/stomach cancer and I started to think about selling the business.

The decision to sell brought up my fear of being adrift without a schedule, but I still knew it was the right thing to do. I love the hardware biz. Most people don't understand the glamor and excitement of hardware, and how once you get bit by hardware fever there is no cure. I wanted to ensure that the community my husband and I had served for 39 years would have a local hardware store to rely on.

I listed the property and got some interesting offers, but thankfully Karl's Hardware came to the rescue. I immediately felt a comradeship with the owner Eric, and his staff, especially Trevor and Patrick who are now running the old Pioneer True Value Home Center as Karl's Hardware. They are friendly and knowledgeable and have a wider range of products than I carried.

All in all, everything is good. My biggest battle is keeping up with my grandchildren. They do keep me on my toes, especially my granddaughter who asks about everything. The other day Annabelle said she had told her classmates that she was part pirate and asked, "Is that right?" I guess there was some doubt. I assured her that was true, and promise to reveal all in the next article I write. Until then I shall be committing to, but then editing, my schedule.


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