Walk into Franklin's Hardware on Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills with your broken rotary sander, your stuck drill bit or your snapped PVC sprinkler pipe, and an angel will immediately take you under wing and get your project back on track. Ultrapersonalized shopping help has been in force here since long before the annoying proliferation of Home Depots — almost within sight of one another — wiped out most of the San Fernando Valley's great corner hardware stores. But at Franklin's there's a paint guy, a sprinkler guy, a nuts-and-bolts guy, several extremely nice register gals and even a guy in the gloom of the far back corner who will strip off your frayed window screens and put on new ones for surprisingly little money. If you don't mind the intrusion, because this is a True Value store you can sign up for the red rewards card. Then, every several weeks (and on your birthday), you'll get a $5 or $10 coupon in the mail. 21936 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills. (818) 347-6800, franklinshardware.com/MapLocation.aspx.

—Jill Stewart

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