Coolest Hardware Store on the Planet


Photo by P.A. Geddie

If you’re looking for paint, building supplies and power tools typically associated with a hardware store, Bralys Ace Hardware in Palestine can certainly meet your need. But if you want a unique shopping experience, this family-owned and operated business since 1932 offers so much more — from kitchen gadgets and gift items to lawn and garden supplies to high-end barbecue grills.

Bralys roots go back to the mid 1920s when W.J. Franklin operated a sawmill business in Neches, Texas. Franklin Lumber Company was established in Palestine in 1932. The family business changed its name to Braly Builders Supply in 1954. Today, Bralys continues as a fourth-generation family business operated by Stephen Braly, the great-grandson of W.J. Franklin, and his wife, Vicki. The store moved its current location at 420 W. Palestine Avenue in 2013.

Just walking into Bralys is a unique shopping experience. Located in the historical Rusk Elementary School building, the business was awarded Ace Hardware’s coolest store on the planet and the “Texas Treasure” awards. Traces of the old school abound, from the store’s wide variety of merchandise displayed in old classrooms to the old water fountain located down the long wood-floored hallway. Old lockers were repurposed as shelves and chalkboards cut up and repainted to serve as aisle signs for the store. Add the store’s unique mix of hardware staples to gifts items, it’s no wonder one online reviewer likened the store to “a Toys R Us for grownups.”


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