Hammers, nails and hard liquor

Towne Lake Hardware in the Lake Forest Park area of Washington State has an unusual niche for a hardware dealer: hard liquor. 

The Ace dealer sells tools, paint and other home improvement items, according to an article in the Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Patch, but its 12,000-sq.-ft. size allows the owners to add hard liquor under Initiative 1183, the local liquor privatization rule.  

Brothers Tim and Joe Uhrich opened their store in November 2009, in the depth of the recession, but business has been good, they said. 

"We can put anything in here and get away with it," Tim Uhrich told the newspaper. "We continually look to improve every department in the store as we see opportunities."

"When we get into a category, we give it our own spin," he added. "We don't need to copy what Albertsons and Rite Aid do."

For example, the store sells several regional liquor brands, such as Mischief whiskey, made in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood; and Dry Fly whiskey, gin and vodka, which comes from Spokane.

Pet food and toys, arts and crafts products, bike accessories and canning supplies round out the assortment.

The brothers compete against Home Depot and several independent hardware stores, including McClendon's in Woodinville. "[But] they're all different," Uhrich said.