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LeBlanc's celebrates 75 years

New Hampshire Union Leader

May 08. 2012 11:43PM
Sylvio Leblanc, center, talks with Al Hebert, who has been a customer for 45 years of Leblanc's Hardware, while George Vincent, repairs a storm window glass, on Thuesday in Manchester on Tuesday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

MANCHESTER - Three generations of family celebrated Tuesday at LeBlanc's True Value Hardware Store, 621 Hayward St., to mark 75 years in the hardware business for Sylvio G. LeBlanc, 93.

While LeBlanc's forays into the business from retirement are occasional, son Phil LeBlanc and daughter Vivian Grenier, and their children are involved in daily operations.

'The difference between us and the big box stores, we give service, we'll take the time and explain things to people,' Phil LeBlanc, 63, said. 'They'll just say go down aisle three and it'll be 50 feet down on your left or something like that. Here, we'll walk them right to what they want and we'll explain to them, step by step if we have to.'

'There's a lot of little services we do that the big guys don't,' he said. Such services include cutting glass and repairing screens and windows, he said.

After working for local hardware stores like Moreau's on Elm Street, and Gosselin's on the West Side, Sylvio LeBlanc and his wife, Lucille, 92, bought LeBlanc's almost 45 years ago, changed the name and grew the business.

'We started at 156 Wilson St.,' he said.

A fire in December 1973 burned the building to the ground. and they started over at the corner of Jewett and Hayward streets. In 1980, they moved to the present site.

'It's been a joy,' Sylvio LeBlanc said. He and Lucille live six months on the West Side and six months in Sarasota, Fla.

'I was the gopher,' Lucille LeBlanc said. 'He never went out of the store. I did all the errands and pickups.'

Industrial accounts, apartment managers and small contractors have been key to the store's success. 'They could come in and get what they needed,' LeBlanc said.

Third-generation family members at the store include Nat and Steve LeBlanc and Karen Grenier.

His boys went off to college but found their way back to the store when they couldn't find other jobs, he said. 'Hopefully, they'll take over,' he said.

Besides family, longtime employees include Linda Farrugio, with 20 years of service.

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