Getting to Know: Bob Fendell Of University Hardware/Housewares

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Even in the most meticulous of lists there is always some item forgotten when packing for college. This is where University Housewares and Hardware comes in. Across each of the cozy stores there is housed everything that a student could want or need. The maestro behind this operation is Bob Fendell, the friendly face behind the cash register at University Housewares who somehow managed to take phone calls, ring up customers and converse with Bwogger Gabby Beans on Tuesday.


Bob Fendell started working at Columbia Hardware in 1984, when the store was still owned by his uncle. Seven years later, Columbia Housewares was born. Although the Hardware store had outgrown the store space, Fendell was anxious about opening the new location: “I remember walking in to the store and thinking, ‘How am I going to fill all of this space?'”

Fendell loves Morningside, and us. Morningside, he says, “is almost like the UN, people from different areas, countries and ethnic groups all getting along. I’ve worked here since I was 25, and now I’m 49, but I don’t feel like I’m aging. With the students there are always new faces and ideas.”


But the transient identity of Morningside is not only defined by the movement of students. Having worked in the area for twenty-four years, Fendell has seen many businesses come and go. But he isn’t bothered by the influx of chains in the neighborhood: “Columbia is a good landlord. They want to have individuals… they wouldn’t just rent to a 7/11.”

Fendell is- surprise, surprise- a handy man, has used nearly all of the tools in Hardware and is well qualified to advise you on any home improvement projects you might want to undertake. He’s also a gadget guy and is constantly revamping Housewares’ stock with interesting new acquisitions “whether it’s a new way to cut garlic or make toast.” So next time you’re in the store buying mounting hooks or a shower curtain, be sure to say hello, and be thankful you’re not in Bed, Bath and Beyond.

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  1. ...

    I kind of don't feel like he's the main act though ... whenever I walk into University Housewares it's the dominicans that work there that always help me to find exactly what I want. Maybe it's cause I'm hispanic and it's nice to speak in Spanish with them, but they never fail to make me smile :)

  2. umm  

    BB&B is much much cheaper.

  3. From hardware to housewares  

    Bob used to be the friendly face behind the counter at the hardware store, when the housewares store was just a twinkle in his eye.

    He's so pleasant and helpful--possibly the nicest person in M'side Heights. But, until this post, I never even knew his name. Apparently, I suck.

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