REDFERN: At Ambour Hardware, 93a Redfern Street, you will find all manner of products such as cutting and plumbing tools, gardening and power tools, building materials, chains, picture hooks, locks and keys, paints and much more. Locals hold owners Joe and Marie Ambour in high regard. “This shop is an example of what hardware stores should be like,” says one satisfied customer. “The service is impeccable and professional.”
The store was first opened in 1958 by Phillip Salem, Joe’s uncle. At that time more kitchenware was sold than hardware. Joe’s brother John bought the business from Phillip and Joe worked with John for 12 years before becoming its new owner in the early 1970s. Hardware then became more of a demand.
Joe recalls that “business was much better in those days”. People were working, saving and spending a lot more. There were a lot of factories around Redfern, he says, which slowly changed to more restaurants and cafes.
The aisles, shelves and walls are packed with colourful items, neatly and helpfully arranged by Marie.
“We carry a variety of stock,” Joe says. “The most popular products are screws, nuts, bolts, various light bulbs and globes. Customers can also request key cuts. Other products in demand include glue, small tins of paint, pliers, garden rakes and sink pumps.”
Joe continues: “I am here to help as much as I can. Customers ask me to cut timber for them or cut metal conduits to size. They also ask for advice on the best way to support picture frames on walls, how to change cylinders or how to fix cabinet hinges that have fallen off.”
Ambour Hardware is open six days a week, Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm and Saturday from 8am to 2pm.
“Each day is different,” says Joe. “There can be quiet times and then a few rush hours where I am juggling several things at once. I answer telephones, serve customers, stock product orders, clean the store, and many other small things. Thankfully, my wife Marie comes to help me every day for four to five hours.”
On his days off Joe enjoys backyard gardening, cooking, spending time with family and visiting the in-laws, and “a nice, good long rest!”