When Koontz Hardware opened for business in West Hollywood in 1938, Home Depot, which didn’t build a store until 1979, wasn’t even a concept. Serving customers all over the Westside, Koontz’s huge inventory of screws, washers, lightbulbs, hammers, saws, doorknobs and innumerable gizmos quickly made the store a favorite with contractors, regular folks and, of course, celebrities. It’s said that Jack Paar, the legendary radio and TV talk-show host, once spent 20 minutes on air talking about Koontz with actress Zsa Zsa Gabor. Although an arsonist burned the original building to the ground in 1982, and Home Depot’s success has closed many a great neighborhood hardware store, Koontz, in its brown-brick building in the heart of Boys Town, is thriving. It offers a 120,000-piece inventory, including many hard-to-find items on shelves that tower 16 feet high. The selection can be intimidating, but you quickly learn that its extraordinarily knowledgeable and friendly staff — many of whom have been working there for years — will guide you to exactly what you need. And that’s even if you didn’t know what it was called or what you really needed. 8914 Santa Monica Blvd., W. Hlywd. (310) 652-0123, koontz.com. —Patrick Range McDonald

LA Weekly