Longtime Cleveland hardware store gives inventory to housing charity

CLEVELAND Wed May 21, 2014 4:35pm EDT

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - The owner of a 54-year-old Cleveland hardware store is retiring and decided to donate his entire stock to Habitat for Humanity to help build housing for the poor.

For the past week, volunteers at Rudy's Hardware in the city's historic Slavic Village area have been busy packing up plumbing, electrical and construction supplies.

Much of the inventory at Rudy Rosales' store catered to the unique needs of the immigrant community's century-old housing stock, with some items dating back 40 years, according to John Habat, executive director of the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity.

"All day people were constantly holding up things asking, 'What is this?' and of course Rudy always had the answer," Habat said on Wednesday. Habat estimated the stock's value at about $100,000.

Rosales, 74, said it was his wife who suggested that he give everything away, rather than try to sell it.

Habitat will use many of the tools and supplies to rehab five homes just around the corner from Rudy's. Many homes in the neighborhood were abandoned, primarily as a result of foreclosures, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

As for Rosales, he says he plans to spend his retirement volunteering in Brecksville, a suburb south of Cleveland, because "a moving target is hard to hit."

(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by Mary Wisniewski)

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