Leon Worden

Big party marks Newhall Hardware's 50th birthday

Leon WordenAugust 13, 1997

The phones have rung all month. "People are asking exactly where we're moving," says Victor Feany, manager of Newhall Hardware for nearly 21 years.

The answer is, the venerable downtown establishment isn't moving at all. What prompted the confusion were the ads Feany ran in The Signal these past several weeks, announcing the "grand opening" of Newhall Hardware at 725 Spruce Street.

Now, with all the commotion over house numbers lately, "725 Spruce" should have been a dead giveaway. You'd think people would get no more than half-way to the phone before they realized we HAVE no three-digit addresses in this town anymore. That was the store's original address, before the county changed both the street name and number. Geez!

The ads certainly served their purpose -- which was to draw attention to the store as it shares with the community one of those Kodak moments, namely its 50th anniversary.

The folks "at the Hardware" are planning a block party such as Newhall hasn't seen in decades. There'll be 25-cent hot dogs. And 25-cent ice-cold watermelon slices. And 25-cent soda pop. And 25-cent snow cones. And in case you were on the phone the first few times I said it, ALL FOR 25 CENTS. (This isn't an ad, it's my column, so it must be true.)

The meager profits from the aforementioned goodies will go to Boy Scout Troop 577 and the SCV Food Pantry, which will operate the food booths. City officials and the Historical Society will be out in force, as will several tool vendors.

The party starts at 10 a.m. this Saturday, August 16, at Newhall Hardware's Garden Center on Railroad Avenue. Parents, bring the kids for the "astro jump," balloons and face painting. Kids, bring Mom and Dad because KBET (1220 on your AM radio dial) plans a CASH BOX GIVEAWAY.

It was exactly 50 years ago this Saturday that Don Guglielmino first opened the doors to Newhall Hardware, and he's been a vital part of downtown Newhall ever since. (Guglielmino himself will participate in the festivities from 11 to 1.) His 40-ish store manager ("I've celebrated my 39th birthday about five times now," says Feany) serves on the Newhall Redevelopment Committee, which is charting a new course for our Old Town.

"With construction starting on Railroad Avenue next month, the new Metrolink station next year and the redevelopment plan already adopted, the city has really gone above and beyond what they've had to do to generate interest in the area," Feany says. "Downtown Newhall is a very important part of this valley. It's where our history is. People in the community are waking up to what needs to be done."

How has the hardware store survived where others haven't? "We're successful because we are unique," Feany answers. "We've got a reputation for having what you want, when you want it. Being in the same location for 50 years doesn't hurt, either. Contractors come from all over because they know we'll have what they're looking for."

What would Feany like to see in tomorrow's downtown? "A good mix of services for customers, whether it means getting your clothes cleaned, purchasing a gallon of milk, getting a prescription filled or getting your car serviced. We plan to be an anchor for the area. We aren't going anywhere."

This Saturday, 10 to 4. Railroad and Market, downtown Newhall. Fun for the whole family. Almost-free food. Be there.

* * *

Any time the veteran Canyon Theatre Guild director Ben Boydston dresses his lovely bride Ingrid in lingerie and casts her in a leading role, the show is worth seeing. Such is the case this month as the guild presents Ray Cooney's "Run For Your Wife" on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.

For those of the female persuasion, there are other reasons to go see the play. It's wild. It's crazy. It's a laugh a minute. Just don't bring the kids.

Talented Christina Belardinelli co-stars as the "other" wife of John Smith (Michael Collins), an "ordinary" taxi driver with the very unordinary challenge of leading a dual life. Rounding out the cast are Jason Endicott, Leo Willey, Matt Gould, Irving Wallpaper -- and Brad Rennels, who is simply dandy as he flits through the scenes and comes dangerously close to stealing the show.

(Eunuchs last time. Drag queens this time. What's next for Canyon Theatre? Rocky Horror? Not that I would mind.)

Richard Knox makes a strong stage debut, and if you close your eyes and just listen, you'd swear it was former S'Clarita mayor George Pederson up there. The resemblance between Knox and Pederson in both voice and delivery is uncanny. And Knox plays a police detective. Call 298-0058 for reservations today.

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Leon Worden is a Santa Clarita resident. His commentary appears on Wednesdays.

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