Sisters Lindsay Sims and Winnie Smith recently stepped into management at New Bern staple Mitchell Hardware. Now they carry on their father’s legacy of American-made goods and passion for community.
Mitchell Hardware Co-owner Lindsay Sims
What intrigued dad about the store mostly was helping people … He thrived off of that it wasn’t just a hardware store, it was a community hub.
A love for Mitchell Hardware
In the quiet of the early morning, before the first customers arrive, Winnie Smith can feel her dad’s presence outside of Mitchell Hardware.
“We definitely feel his presence . . . And what he was known for, being on the sidewalk,” she said.
Smith and her sister Lindsay Sims are the co-owners and co-managers of Mitchell Hardware, a famous New Bern destination. They recently took over ownership after their father, previous owner and prominent community figure, Greg Smith passed away.
“We’re there because of our dad and because of his passing,” Smith said, “but Lindsay and I both love Mitchell’s so much and there’s no place else we’d rather be.”
One man’s impact in New Bern
Their dad was well-known in the community through his role in the store. In carrying on the Mitchell legacy, the sisters hear many stories of how he reached the people of New Bern.
“Even though it’s hard for us to hear those in a way, we hear them every day. So it is a beautiful thing, because every story is beautiful,” said Sims.
Many customers who come in express their condolences, but also thank the sisters for being there and keeping the well-loved store open.
A New Bern legacy and ‘community hub’
The Hardware store has been in the community for decades. The Mitchell family started the business in 1898, and Smith and Sims’s father purchased the store from his uncle about 11 years ago.
“He cared about downtown and the success of downtown,” said Sims. “What intrigued dad about the store mostly was helping people…He thrived off of that it wasn’t just a hardware store, it was a community hub.”
A part of their father’s Mitchell legacy was selling North Carolina-made products, and United States products as well.
Sims said there wasn’t a question whether she and her sister weren’t going to continue building what their father built.
“The people who knew dad really well said to our face, ‘You’re not your father, but whatever you do you’ll do it because you know what’s right. And you know what works for you and you know what he would’ve wanted,'” Sims said.
The sisters want to maintain the values on which Mitchell Hardware was built.
Powered by family and community
“We’ve had a lot of hard times, but the community, our family, our friends — we wouldn’t be where we are today without them,” Smith said.
Family continues to be an important part of Mitchell Hardware.
“My daughter is one and she’s in there making people smile,” Sims said, “so it’s just full circle, it really is.”
Recalling their dad’s impact in the community is a driving force behind the sisters’ work at Mitchell Hardware.
“He was just the happiest man alive. He felt so fulfilled and because of that we do too,” Smith said. “That’s why we can go on living because we had such a wonderful dad that makes all this worth it.”
Want more homegrown stories and My Home, NC news delivered to your inbox?
Sign Up for the My Home, NC Email Newsletter! »