UPDATE: Bourassa Hardware lives on as new ownership took over in January of 2024. Read more about it here.

NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — After a century in business, New Bedford’s Bourassa Hardware is set to close its doors for good next month as its owners will be retiring.

“It’s been on my mind for quite a while,” owner Therese Bourassa Bernier told WBSM Wednesday after the impending closing was announced on Facebook. “The final decision was made just before Thanksgiving.”

Bernier operates the store along with her brother Gerard. It was founded by their grandfather Donat Bourassa in 1924, and the two siblings took over the store from their father and uncle in January 1997 after a lifetime spent working in the store.

“I started when I was around seven years old, when I had to get on a stepstool to place keys on the rack. That’s what I remember,” Bernier said. “I’m not sure if my father was just giving me busy work, but there was no such thing as not working, all those years growing up.”

Bernier said her parents always put school work first, but that she eventually did come into her own when it came to customer service.

“I remember the first person I actually waited on, Frank Hanrahan, was such a nice individual that it helped me get my courage to wait on him,” she said.

From that interaction grew a lifetime of customer service and giving back to the community, something that was always synonymous with Bourassa Hardware.

“(The customers) remind me that people are people,” Bernier said. “It’s not just selling nuts and bolts; it’s connecting with the community. That’s what I’ll miss the most, and I’ll just have to find something else that gets me involved in the community.”

The Acushnet Avenue hardware store, which has long been associated with True Value, was a true cornerstone of the city’s North End business district.

“My brother put it best at my dad’s wake: we never had to cross the street because we were ashamed of what our family did,” Bernier said. “Our father always treated people with respect, and as family.”

READ MORE: New Bedford's Bourassa Hardware Lives On Under New Ownership

Bernier said there was not a next generation to carry on the legacy of Bourassa Hardware; she has a daughter who is studying communications at UMass Boston, and Bernier wants her to be able to do her own thing.

“It takes a lot of your life to be in business, and be open six days a week,” she said. “I want her to do what she wants to do.”

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As pointed out in the Facebook post, Bourassa Hardware “has been a place where relationships were built, and every customer was treated like family.”

“Our store has stood witness to the changing tides of history, enduring through wars, economic ups and downs, and the evolution of the retail landscape,” the statement reads, calling the decision to close “bittersweet.”

“We take solace in knowing that our legacy of personal service and community involvement will live on in the memories of those we’ve served,” the statement reads.

Beginning on January 2, Bourassa Hardware will be holding an inventory clearance closing sale.

“This will be an opportunity to share memories, grab a piece of history, and bid farewell,” according to the Facebook post.

The doors will close for the final time on January 13.

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