The first Emigh Hardware store was opened in 1908 by brothers James and Clay Emigh, who set up shop at 1208 J Street after moving from Suisan City.
Four years later, the company merged with Winchell and Cline and moved to a larger location at 310 J Street. Another move in 1918 took the business to Seventh and J Street, where it remained for 14 years under the leadership of the brothers.
With the retirement of the senior Emigh brothers in the early 1930s, the next generation took the helm. James’ sons Albert, James Jr. and Colby moved the business farther uptown to the 13th and J Street, the current location of the Sacramento Community Convention Center. During these years of the Depression and World War II, even steel garbage cans on sale – much to the consternation of competitors who wanted to keep prices high.
By 1952, Colby was ready for another move. Attracted by the postwar building boom in the suburbs, he took a risk and relocated the business to “the country,” the newly developed Country Club Centre at El Camino and Watt whose only neighbor was a goat farm.
The newer more mobile population here had trouble pronouncing the name Emigh, so in the 1960s the company introduced a cartoon character depicting a pigtailed girl in overalls saying, “Call me Amy.” Little Amy, a composite of Colby and Jesma Emigh’s daughters Carol and Mary, is still a familiar feature in Emigh Hardware advertisements. During the 1960s, Emigh became an affiliate of Ace Hardware and increased its purchasing power as a result.
Colby Emigh’s son-in-law, Rich Lawrence, took over as general manager in 1971 and in 1973 moved the business across the street to the present 35,000-square-foot location on El Camino Avenue. Lawrence’s son Brian is the fourth generation to contribute to the family legacy and oversees the operation of Emigh’s Outdoor Living their 15,000-square-foot patio furniture showroom that opened in April 2000 right next door to the hardware store.
At Emigh Hardware, customers are treated to extras they just can’t get elsewhere. The store’s 80 knowledgeable employees, some of whom have been with the company for more than 20 years, ensure more customer assistance per square foot than any other hardware store. At no cost, customers can have their faucet parts cleaned. Power equipment is set up, serviced and ready to go. The little things add up, too: Cashiers do not interrupt sales to take phone calls – all calls are handled in the back office by an operator.
“Our customers take ownership of the store,” Rich Lawrence says. “They feel it’s their store.”
Emigh Hardware, ever conscious of its position as a Sacramento institution, has always done its part to improve the quality of life in the city it has called home for so long. A longtime champion of youths, the company donates to several area schools and hosts “65 Roses Golf Tournament” to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
As Emigh Hardware has in its past 109 years, the store will continue to maintain the quality of service and selection of products customers have come to expect. Emigh Hardware: “Where service has been a tradition since 1908.”
FUN FACT ABOUT EMIGH
In the 1960’s the company introduced a cartoon character depicting a pigtailed girl in overalls saying, “Call me Amy.” Little Amy, a composite of Colby and Jesma Emigh’s daughters Carol and Mary, is still a familiar feature in Emigh Hardware advertisements.
Timeline of Emigh’s History
The first Emigh store was opened in 1908 by brothers James and Clay Emigh.
In 1915, Mr. Emigh and two partners opened a full line hardware store at 310 J Street under the name Emigh-Winchell-Cline Hardware Company.
In 1923, Emigh-Winchell Hardware Company moved to 715 J Street.
The senior Emigh brothers retired and passed Emigh onto the next generation. They then moved the business farther uptown to 13th and J Street, the current location of the Sacramento Community Convention Center.
Colby Emigh moved the store from J Street to the Country Club Center at El Camino.
The cartoon drawing of Little Amy was created.
Emigh became an affiliate of Ace Hardware.
Colby Emigh’s son-in-law, Rich Lawrence, took over as general manager in 1971.
Emigh was moved to the present 35,000 ft location on El Camino Avenue in 1973.
Emigh’s Ace Hardware opened Emigh’s Outdoor Living outdoor furnishings store in 2000.
In August 2005, Emigh Ace Hardware completed the installation of a 200 kW rooftop solar system.
Emigh celebrates 100 years of business and service for the Northern California community.
Emigh Ace Hardware recently underwent Helpful 101 Certification earned Certified Ace Helpful status.