It’s a Cambria Hardware party, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, May 16, at 2345 Village Lane, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the business with free doughnuts, cookies and coffee, a sale in the parking lot and gift-certificate giveaways.
Owner Chuck McMillan, who just turned 85, looked back on those three decades May 7, noting that he has much for which to be grateful, including the loyalty and dedication of his customers and staff (especially Mary Evans, whom McMillan calls “my backbone, my stalwart”) and his original opportunity to retire after 35 years as a San Gabriel Valley funeral director and 10 years as a partner in a construction company.
“I figured I’d come up here and quietly run the hardware store with two or three employees and be semi-retired,” he said, but, as is often the case, things didn’t work out exactly as planned.
Having survived five potential competitors and several severe national economic downturns since then, “we now have 12 employees and are doing very well with the help of the town of Cambria in supporting us in every way possible. Our future looks very good.”
The business anniversary isn’t all that McMillan is celebrating: He was feted recently by American Legion Post No. 432 for his 60 years of consistent membership and participation. He served four years in the Navy in the time between World War II and the Korean conflict. He was stationed in the Mediterranean, and served as an admiral’s aide.
McMillan originally opened the store Feb. 7, 1983, in the Redwood Shopping Center. In 1989, he and partners Phil Kispersky and Bob Pudas acquired the Dale Perry’s former Village Lumber property and buildings, which had been vacant for several years, and moved the hardware store into the buildings it has occupied ever since. McMillan bought out his partners three years ago.