Wedeco, an old time hardware store

... Broken glass is a pain

by Ella Letterie and Louise Fennell

The year was 1945 and Charlie Ragucci had just returned home from his years of service during WWII. He decided that he didnít like the way that contractors and lumber company suppliers were overcharging the veterans, so he and his brother Bob started their own construction company. This was called West Decorating Company, hence Wedeco. That was on Main Street, Melrose where Papa Ginoís is now. They then moved to Franklin Street. When the building they are in now became available because of Proposition 2Ĺ, Charlie purchased it. The building is called Corinthian Hall, where many Melrosians learned to dance. This location is known for itís Palladium windows.

People who have lived in Melrose a long time will remember Hillís stationery, a satellite of the Melrose Library, and the wonderful pharmacy called Hartman which closed only about a year ago.

For years Charlie, Angela, his wife who is called Bunny, and daughter Christine, ran the store. Charlie now has three daughters, Christine, Stephanie and Virginia, eight grandchildren, and three great granddaughters. Recently Christine reminisced about the old days when her father, mother, and husband worked the store together. "It was such fun." she said.

Charlie sells and does everything in and out of his store, from duplicating keys to fixing screen windows and all in between. When I asked Christine if they took an inventory, she replied that once a month she had to count the myriad boxes of nails, screws, nuts and bolts.

Some of the more interesting items are the paint mixers which Charlie uses to blend just the right colors to suit each customer. He is quite an artist. Another is the brick rake which is used to scrape the mortar from between bricks.

The scale is used to weigh the nails. Nuts, bolts and screws are sold by the box.

Amid all this metal, we came across a flowering garden at the exit. A sure sign that spring is coming.

Originally published April 01,2005..

August 5, 2016

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