My youth didn't have me going into a lot of hardware stores. In fact, there was only really one in my hometown - an Ace next to a barber shop and across the street from a comic books store (where I spent A LOT of time and not a lot of money).
Still, the smell and general aura of the hardware store is something that has easily been recalled now that I'm spending more and more time venturing the aisles of Home Depot, Lowes, and other mom & pop shops around Seattle.
I really love it. I love the distinct, mixed aroma of wood, rubber hoses, and flora scents sneaking out of the garden center. I love being around people who know exactly what they're looking, those who look like they know but really don't, and those at a complete loss. Until recently, I was one of those at a complete loss.
I love that the employees are always legitimately cheery, and don't charge me extra for all the cuts I have them make on the huge mill machine.
I love (and don't love) wandering through the aisles, only finding what I'm looking for after the third time (specific wood screws).
I love the general feeling in the air of accomplishment. Everyone in there has a task that needs doing, and is doing what they need to do to get it done.
I look forward to a long enduring relationship hardware stores.