MOORESVILLE, N.C. — A lot of things have changed in downtown Mooresville since D.E. Turner & Co. Hardware opened in 1899, but the store's connection to the town's past is a big reason why it's so popular with locals.
If you've ever been to D.E. Turner & Co., you've met Jack Moore. He's been working at the store for over 70 years.
"I went to work here 75 years ago," Moore said. "I was 15 years old in high school and I'm 90 now. The only job I've ever had."
D.E. Turner Hardware is the oldest operating business in Mooresville and it's seen the town go from dirt roads to paved streets and saw a once narrow river turn into Lake Norman, the largest man-made body of freshwater in North Carolina.
Still operating in its original location at 115 Main St., D.E. Turner harkens back to days gone by, where stores didn't specialize inventory. To this day, they still keep a little bit of everything, including some things other stores "don't even know about," Moore joked.
"I only remember stores like this," one customer said. "Maybe a general store, but I don't think they exist much anymore."
"Daddy always says, 'if we don't have it, you don't need it anyway,'" Moore's daughter, Jackie, said. "So many people walk in our front door and go, 'oh wow.'"
The store itself was built before it opened in 1899. That's before power tools and modern construction techniques were developed.
"One of those places that you're either old enough to have remembered one or you're young enough to have never seen one," Moore's son, Danny, said. "In either case, it's interesting."
Moore's kids said they've managed to keep the store looking like it did way back in 1899, but there were a few necessary upgrades. For example, they talked their dad into getting a debit machine for card payments. But don't look for D.E. Turner to change its way of doing business.
"You give me a computer I'll throw it away," Moore said. "I've never had my hands on a computer. I do have a telephone."
Customers could probably find what they're looking for at one of the big box stores, but regular patrons want what the others can't provide: Years of knowledge, experience and those downhome roots.
So even at 90 years young, Jack Moore still works every day at D.E. Turner & Co. Hardware, helping customers find what they're looking for. And he's the right man for the job. After all, he put it there.