This juxtaposition was a surprise for me. I was in West Omaha running some errands, and I had the idea to photograph Loveland Center, a little strip mall on 90th and Center that used to contain some small stores, a Convenient Mart, and a restaurant. I knew that most of the businesses were empty and pictured a somewhat desolate photograph. I wanted to capture that because Sack’s Hardware was my first job in Omaha, the summer of ’96. I sold hardware and wrote prices in Sharpie on nuts and bolts. Back then, customers and employees could smoke cigarettes in the store. I got in trouble once for using the term “weed-whacker” over the intercom (the P.C. term was “trimmer”). I learned that “Hardware” is abbreviated “Hdwe” in the industry, an abbreviation that I have enjoyed ever since.
As I pulled up to the light at 90th, I was surprised to see that a crew was at that moment wrecking the whole strip mall! As I pulled in, they were actually about halfway through destroying Sack’s. It was a little saddening. Not that the Loveland Center was some amazing specimen of architecture, but it held some memories for myself and others.
How long should a strip mall last? What is an old hardware store worth? How do we decide whether to renovate or start from scratch?
Loveland Center, 90th and Center St., Omaha
New(ish) Development, 63rd and Center St., Omaha