not your mother’s hardware store

It’s 5:00 on a week night. Do you know where O My Family is?

Why, they’re at the hardware store of course. And no, they didn’t get a babysitter this time, they brought the kiddo along. And that store? Well, it’s not for the faint of heart. There are no helpful folks in orange aprons wandering around asking if they can be of service. It’s pretty much just a warehouse building (TWO buildings, actually) with a cash register in the front of one of them. It’s very fend-for-yourself.


It’s something of a consignment shop for building materials. Construction companies will bring the extra materials they don’t use (or that the owner changes their mind about) on the houses they are building/remodeling here to be re-sold, and the warehouse simply takes a cut of the sale price. Really, really great deals to be found… with some digging (O! The digging!).

Yesterday we were on the hunt for 7 doors of the exact same style in various sizes for our second story remodel. (It’s coming along, friends!! It’s really coming along!) There must have been, I don’t know… over 1,000 doors to look through (O, you think I’m kidding? I’m so not.) of differing heights, widths, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 panel doors, mission style doors, fancy routed doors, french doors, doors with glass elements, pre-hung doors, slab doors, interior and exterior doors, wood doors, bi-fold doors, hollow-core doors…


::jazz hands::

We spent literally 2 hours looking though, analyzing, and measuring (wait for it…) doors. OBaby was such a trooper despite being all cooped up in his stroller (DanO had to lift and move heavy things, so wearing him was out, I’m currently ‘wearing’ enough baby weight, and it’s not the kind of place to let a tot run free, you know?). We brought several bags of snacks and handed him one cracker at a time. Worked wonders.

So we were about 1 hour 45 minutes into our door hunt (can’t go over it… can’t go und… sorry.), and we had a few doors on our ‘cart’ but we had left them over a ways from us rather than roll those heavy things everywhere. Another young couple walked into area of the warehouse where we were, passing our cart.

Hey!” I called out.

They’re not going to take our doors, Allison.” DanO said abruptly, probably embarrassed that I was talking to strangers again (I do that a lot. True story).

No, Dan! It’s your brother!

And so it was, his brother and his fiancée there at the crazy building materials warehouse, also hunting for doors because they are also renovating an old house themselves.


This is what normal families do on Wednesday evenings, right? Run into each other in un-heated industrial buildings filled with lumber?

(Don’t answer that.)

Seeing his auntie and uncle gave OBaby the boost he needed to get through the last 20 or so minutes of our search, and we were able to find all of the doors we were looking for! Not only that, but… I know I mentioned the cost of diapers yesterday and talking specifics of money gives some people hives, but I just have to share this… each very nice, solid wood door averaged out to be $41. FOURTY ONE DOLLARS! That’s only a dollar more than a case of diapers. FOR A DOOR! We looked at the Sunday ad for your more average consumer hardware store – those same doors are presently on sale for $120.

I say? That was worth the digging.


Also, bless DanO’s brother and his fiancée’s hearts for humoring me and taking a group picture at such an occasion as this. We have kind of an awesome family.


(…and I think OBaby knows it. Look at that smirk.)

21 Responses to “not your mother’s hardware store”

    • AllisonO

      It’s called Building Materials Outlet and it’s in Eagan on 55! I left that out because I wasn’t sure if people would care, so I’m glad you asked!

  1. Lindsay

    AMEN for $41 doors! Way to go you! I’m ashamed now to say I was really proud of the $80 ones my husband and I found (it seems renovating is the new black nowadays…). Have you even checked out cost of doorknobs? Because, and this should make you feel better, that was our “date” last night. The romance, I can barely handle it without swooning.

    • AllisonO

      O My Heck, door knobs. Oy. And we need 7 of those, too. O, and matching hinges. The fun. It never ends.

  2. Seth

    Only the O-Family would run into each other at a place like this….haha! Miss you guys!

  3. Saz

    We are TOTALLY addicted to those kinds of stores!! We got a bunch of great deals for our kitchen renovation at one, including our $30 dishwasher! :)

  4. kim

    We are currently shopping for 22 doors. I’m thinking a trip to that store, even from Delaware, would be cheaper than the $120 + a door we’re looking at. Good buy!

  5. abby

    So funny! I totally wish we had that type of store! I soo need a few doors in our house and keep putting it off since they are so expensive:(

  6. Sarah

    Thanks for sharing! We will be building our new home (sooner than later….hopefully), and this store would be a huge help! Can’t wait to tell hubby about it! Thanks!

  7. Karmin

    Thanks!!! We’ve been looking at front doors for a year, but couldn’t believe how expensive they are. They have this place in Washington State too.

  8. Erika

    oh my gosh, you guys kill me. i LOVE this because i know it is exactly what my mom and dad did for fun in their 20s :)

  9. Sarah

    Before I even got to the end of this post I was thinking the same thing about OBaby’s face. He’s just too cute! How will you possibly handle TWO children of such extrodinary cuteness?! ;)

  10. Suzanne

    What a cool store. I am extremely jealous. All we’ve got is standard Big Orange Box Store – although we spent so much time there when Little Evan was a baby the mere smell of sawdust makes my milk let down.

  11. MichelleJ

    Not many people could make a trip to the hardware outlet store so.dang.funny. Thanks for making me smile this morning.
    (Also? All you people renovating? I should talk to you. Might make me feel more inspired with my husband’s grand renovation plans. Thank you for showing me that we are not the only nutty renovating family).

  12. Angie S.

    I may have to make a trip there…. I’ve been wanting a new storm door!

  13. Cool Dad

    $41 seems like a good price for something that provides separation from a hallway to a room where someone might be changing or using the bathroom. I wish we had more of them in our little apartment! :)


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