Anzen Hardware has always been this mystical place to me as a kid. Against an old brick wall and inside squeaky glass cases were items not readily available in the states. Imported ryoba and chisels, jikatabi footwear and hand-forged knives from an operating 600 year old Japanese sword company—if you ever had fantasies of being a real life ninja this was your stockpile.
Starting off as a hotel supply store in 1946 by Tsutomu Maehara, Anzen served the many single room occupancy hotels around the neighborhood. As the hotels dwindled down with more businesses moving in, Maehara decided to pivot to a hardware store in order to supply the flourishing neighborhood. Community first.
In 1954, a high school kid fresh from Hiroshima by the name of Nori Takatani strolled into the store and has since planted his roots. Now the current owner and operator, you can catch Nori everyday in the hardware store usually taking questions from curious patrons on the foreign whatchamacallits on display.
I could have never imagined 2020 would be like this—opening a new storefront during a pandemic— but we are super fortunate it’s here in Little Tokyo. There is a sense of reassurance in seeing the community come together and knowing the legacy businesses have survived way worse, it makes you feel like everything will be alright. There are hurdles for legacy businesses in a world of digital commerce and so this collaboration aims to offset some of the economic setbacks.
In this bundle you will receive a limited pocket tee with a set of gardening gloves and a pack of seeds of your liking. Pre-orders will end on November 23rd and we encourage you to pick up in person December 19th and 20th.
Kindly show your email confirmation and you will receive your bundle, then walk over to Anzen and show your box and pick out your seeds of choice. For those unable to show up in person, please perform a normal check out and we will send you seeds chosen by Nori. In the end we aim to attract more people to visit this living, breathing historical landmark and to think twice about going to Home Depot.
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