Saturday, January 18, 2014

Snow Shovels, Rockets, Reptiles and Underwear - Newport's Pick and Shovel is Worth the Trip

By Manfried Rieder Starhemberg

If this were the time of the "Little House on the Prairie" the "Pick and Shovel" hardware emporium in Newport would have been called a "mercantile". All across America stores like that were later just called general stores but while this famous long established Newport establishment could be called either, it is more of a two city block long entertainment center. We sometimes think of it as a combination of Epcot center and amusement park.
Where else in the N.E.K. can your  kids eat ice cream while you shop for a snow shovel, your wife buys new underwear and your brother in law loads up the truck with pine boards to re-side the garage.
And this is just a thin veneer of what is going on here. Almost all of the street level is dedicated to every tool amateur or professional may require. There are the common hand and power tools but also every accessory on the planet is well displayed. Then there are rows and rows of fasteners, electrical equipment, hinges and door knobs, locks and the friendly guy who can make any key ever invented. From light bulbs to candles and toilet seats to clock making supplies - it is all there and the helpful staff knows exactly where to find it. A box of magnets? "Right over here in the back on top, let me show you". You have an odd color cabinet you wish to repaint in the original color and there are paint specialists who will analyze a chip  of paint and match it exactly. Of course there are garden hoses and sprinkler systems, all the stuff you need to hook up or ventilate your washer or dryer and if gets boring, amble on upstairs - its right behind the popcorn machine which churns out fresh buckets all day. Upstairs there are endless rooms of clothing for every conceivable need. You find jackets and waders, hundreds of boots for all occasions and more hunting gear than the National guard has in its arsenal. There is ammo and knifes, camouflage jackets and if you are not into killing Bambi, hook a right into the pet store where you can see snakes and lizards, pet a bunny, watch the colorful birds or get mesmerized by watching thousands of colorful fish in all sizes in their beautiful tanks.
Had enough yet?
We have not even scratched the surface. There is a magnificent toy store where you may find a remote controlled helicopter or a rocket kit next to traditional sleds and even that pretty little red bicycle which looks just like the one your sister had when you were little. Another section has games and art supplies and in yet another level of the store you find lamps and lighting fixtures and every needed appliance made, ranging from the apartment-affordable to the luxurious.
Enough - they don't sell fresh eggs like the old country general stores but you can still buy nails by the pound and across the parking lot is a huge lumber yard with all dimensions of wood for your project. They also sell you pallets of stone or brick, ladders of any imaginable size and for any use and in yet another building you find two stories of outdoors furniture, grills and umbrellas and the occasional sundial. The groundfloor there is a huge display of maple syrup making equipment some of which costs more than a new Volvo. Anyone wishing to get into the sugaring business has to talk to the experts here, they know more about sugaring than some people we know who are in the business...
So, when in Newport or wishing to spend a rainy day shopping for an iguana or a rocket propelled toy, or just to enjoy the ambiance of Newport's finest store, visit the "Pick and Shovel" in the heart of downtown Newport City.

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