During most of Porter Hardware’s 125 years of operating in downtown Dothan, customers could find pretty much anything they would need from a hardware store. If they didn’t have it, a person probably didn’t really need it.
The store is now empty while the building is being cleaned and renovated, but many of those hardware store must-haves are in storage in connected buildings and will be back on display later this year.
Tuesday morning, members of the Dothan Downtown Development Authority got a look at the progress being made to open the building back up to the public.
DDRA Director Jamie Bienvenu said there are still discussions about how the building will be operated. One option includes selling some key items, which will allow people to come in, see the store and its historic contents, and take something with them reminiscent of what they might have bought when the store was still in operation.
“I would like people to walk away with a little piece of Porter when they come,” Bienvenu said.
Though plans for the building aren’t set in stone, Bienvenu said there will be a conference area to hold meetings and it will be used as a gathering place in some capacity.
“That’s a lot of what this building was,” she said. “It was where business happened. It was one of the biggest destinations, the hardware store.”
A roofing project should be done within the next couple of months, stopping the leaks that became obvious during a rain shower on Tuesday. The DDRA will spend $73,220 for Marty Robbins Roofing to remove and replace two old layers of roofing on the building, a contract that also includes $20,000 to restore two skylights. Those skylights shine light into the second story and also down to the first floor through two large openings in the first floor ceiling.
A project for more extensive work is expected…