Bilal Altintoprak always wondered about the potential for the Hart’s True Value Hardware building on Main Road in Southold as he drove around for his pool construction and renovation business, but he said he “never imagined” he’d get the chance to one day purchase the building.
“I always passed by here and thought, ‘Oh that’d be a really good pool store in the future,’ ” the Southold businessman said. “When I found out this building was for sale, I jumped right on it.”
Long Island Pool Care moved from its former location on Route 48 to the former Hart’s Hardware building after Mr. Altintoprak closed on the property Dec. 1. Long Island Pool Care previously leased its headquarters in Peconic.
“I always wanted my own building. It is exciting,” said Mr. Altintoprak, who has worked on the North Fork since 2006 and been in the pool business since the 1990s. “It’s a pretty new building, pretty big building, a nice piece of property. There’s a lot of pluses for this building.”
The property was the site of Hart’s True Value Hardware for decades before the business closed in late 2016. A thank-you note written by the former owners on the building’s glass front doors remains.
Mr. Altintoprak and family members who help run the business have stocked the 1,200-square-foot storefront with pool supplies and tools and will have it fully ready by next week, he said. The store will soon sell road ice and shovels to help locals cope with the winter season.
“There’s a lot of traffic here and it’s slower traffic so people get to see us better,” said Ozzy Kiran, Mr. Altintoprak’s nephew.
Mr. Altintoprak runs his family business practically year round and said he installs as many as 20 pools a year. He expects this year will be even busier than the 2016.
“I have a really good clientele. We picked up a lot of customers last year, and I’m sure this year is going to be better,” he said.
He’s still deciding what to do with the other 2,000-square-foot portion of the building. Perhaps he’ll turn it into a laundromat, he said, although he’ll need to get approvals from the town and the state Department of Environmental Conservation to do so due to the property’s proximity to the water.
Mr. Altintoprak said he’ll also need to replace the “Hardware, Paint, Keys” portion of the iconic sign outside the store. But he’s hesitant to get rid of the “Hart’s” sign entirely.
“That’s an old neon sign,” he said. “They don’t make them like that anymore. For years it’s been there. Everybody knows the Hart’s sign.”
Photo: Long Island Pool Care owner Bilal Altintoprak, right, has stocked the shelves at his business’ new location on Main Road in the former Hart’s Hardware building. He’s been helped by his employees — and family members — Ozzy Kiran, from left, Huseyin Altintoprak and Mert Altintoprak. (Credit: Paul Squire)