George and Irene Majestic opened Majestic’s Hardware in 1947. The business is still a fixture of the hamlet, offering quality tools, hardware, building, painting and gardening supplies, the odd item you can’t find anywhere else and, most importantly, service. They fix lawnmowers, chainsaws, and other small engines. They sharpen chainsaw blades.
It’s a small town store that contributes to the sense of community here. It’s a place you go where someone will learn your name and say hello when you come in.
George and Irene’s granddaughter, Kat Majestic, is the most recent addition to the staff. She joined her family at the store in October. It wasn’t a given that she’d join the family business, even though she had fond memories of the place: “My sister Sandra and I ran around the store once or twice a week, dusting and keeping the stock neat. It was fun.” She thought she might like a different kind of career, and to travel.
Her mom encouraged her to go away for school; she started her college studies in Equine Management (her first love is horses). However she found herself homesick and also unsure that this was the right career path for her. “It’s hard to get a good paying job in that field, and I didn’t want to muck out stalls for a living.”
She decided instead to pursue her second love—art—at SUNY New Paltz. This brought her home to her horses, Porthos and Benny. They are her favorite art models. This summer, their portraits will be on display at Horses In The Sun, a company in Saugerties focused on producing hunter/jumper horse shows. She also shows them there, and participates in competitions.
Two years ago, Kat and Porthos had an accident. “It was a windy day, we were cantering, a potted tree fell over and he started bucking.” She says he tripped over her trying to get out of the way when she fell. Even though she broke her neck, she isn’t afraid of him as what happened was an accident, and he is good-natured. She was in the hospital for five days and in a brace for three months, but this didn’t stop her from running with and training the horses. She was riding again a few days after her brace came off.
Kat has worked at Advanced Auto, and on her 92 Camero. She says that between the two she realized she liked working with her hands, hardware, tools and parts. She also knew her family would need her help to keep the store running into the next generation. She decided, after graduating a year ago, to make a commitment to her family, this community and the store.
She brings, along with her commitment, computer skills. There’s now a website, majesticshardware.com, which includes a nifty link to a Do It Yourself site which can walk you through many home repairs. “I’m very happy with my decision. I’m with my family and my friends, and I feel like I’m part of a living history. I really enjoy the customers too; I like being a part of Gardiner.”
She’s been surprised that her art training comes in handy in many ways at the store. “For example, having made frames for canvases is useful when someone wants advice about how to fix an antique screen door. I know which nails they should use so they won’t split the soft wood.”
Majestic’s Hardware is open 6 days per week, from 8-5:30, and on Sundays from 10 – 2.