In 1946, Lewis Little opened the doors of Little Hardware on Avenue F in Ensley, Alabama. After operating there for 13 years, an opportunity presented itself, in 1959, to move to the newly built Mountain Brook Shopping Center adjacent to Mountain Brook Village.
The store was welcomed into the new retail community and quickly became an integral part of its diverse offerings. Recognizing its value, prospective businessman Frank Davies Jr. bought Little Hardware in 1965 from Mr. Little, who stayed on for two years to help with the transition of ownership.
Mr. Davies, previously a salesman, relished the opportunity to further his participation in the economy of his local community. Because he grew up in the area and attended Mountain Brook Elementary school, he was particularly interested in seeing the neighborhood thrive. So he worked hard to grow the business, and under his leadership the customer base expanded. Mr. Davies wanted Little Hardware to be a service-oriented operation, so he began the program that provided free home delivery Monday through Friday, which still exists today.
Before he was a store owner, Frank Wesley Davies Jr. was an academic and soldier. He attended the University of Virginia but left to join the army when World War II began. After serving in Germany and France, he returned to Alabama and finished his education at Auburn University where he earned a degree in business. Before buying Little Hardware, he sold insurance and real estate and worked in his father-in-law’s electric appliance store. All of this experience prepared him for a business of his own.
In addition to being a devoted businessman, Mr.Davies was dedicated to his family. He and his wife had three children, all of whom worked in the store at at some point in their lives. In 1982, Mr. Davies’s son Frank Wesley Davies lll permanently joined the team in 1982, which made Little Hardware the family business Mr. Davies Jr. had dreamed about.
As commerce in Mountain Brook Village continued to expand, so, too, did Little Hardware. Eventually the need to grow the the store became apparent, and when, in 2010, the opportunity presented itself, Little Hardware acquired the adjacent space previously occupied by a local bookstore. A door was cut in the wall to connect the two and the “paint store” was born.
In 2013, when the decision was made by the owners of the shopping center to relocate the strip containing Liltte Hardware, and another opportunity for expansion was born. The owner of the former Park Lane grocery store in English Village and Frank lll, who’d recently become the primary manager of Little Hardware, agreed it should be the new home for the store. Plans are currently underway to develop the building into just that.