There was one person at Smith Hardware on Saturday who was there on the very first day back in 1933; Paul “Cooster” Smith.  The 93-year old from the family that started Smith’s and ran it for almost 70-years stopped by for a few minutes as Smith ACE Hardware celebrated its 85th year in business.A steady flow of customers and well wishers came through, and many of them lingered for a while and visited.  The day was quite reminiscent of the 1960s when people were not quite in such a hurry, and Saturday in downtown La Follette was “the” place to be.

Chevy Miller (L) and Dean Smith handled the hot dog duties playing to a large audience

Current owners Debra Miller and Sherman Campbell, along with their staff, were quite busy.  And thrilled to be.  A good day of business went hand-in-hand with the celebration.

The ACE Orca cooler and black pipe lamp were given away on Saturday.

Campbell says customers kept coming especially while they served grilled hot dogs until 3 pm.  That’s also when names were drawn for several prize give-a-ways with Kenny Allen taking the top prize, the customized ACE cooler made by Orca.

Smith glows when Miller and Campbell are mentioned.  Having hired the pair years ago, you can tell it gives him the feeling that his family hardware store is still owned and run by family.  There’s a lot of comfort in that.  For all three of them.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 07/23/2018-6AM)