September 30, 2016

Koosharem, Utah: Home of the “Best Hardware Store in America”

Discovering Small Town Utah Door-to-Door

My unplanned visit to Koosharem was to witness for myself if this small town’s hardware store was, indeed, as amazing as it had been reported to me three hours prior by barber Zane Hatch from Salinas, Utah.

DeLange says that residents of Koosharem and everyone in the Green Valley refer to his store as “the Tri-City Mall.”

“We’ve got about everything.”

Koosharem’s hardware store/post office/cafe is the center of town. Pictured below (left to right) is Kirk Sorenson, Charles DeLange and Will Talbot. “We have about anything and everything a person could want,” said DeLange. Everyone in town agrees.

DeLange says they carry not just hardware, shampoo, shovels, grocery items and soap, but also car parts. DeLange recounts how a man with a broken valve thought he would need to travel to Richfield to find the part he needed “We had it!” And he fixed the car in a couple of hours.

I can confirm that the hardware store is certainly worth the visit.Koosharem is also home to some of the most interesting characters I’ve met in Utah. Charles DeLange owned the store for 40 years. He recently sold it to his nephew, who wasn’t present. The original Koosharem store was built in 1870, when the town was first settled by Mormon Pioneers. Many of the original families that settled in the town still remain.

Entering Koosharem is almost like visiting a different country or a time warp. Nobody seems in a hurry at all. Everyone gathers to talk to the reporter from the city. I ask DeLange if he ever feels stressed out. “Well, about an hour ago I had to deliver all the meals for seniors; now here you are asking me questions; in a half an hour I have to go meet the scouts… Yeah, it gets hectic!”

Long ago every town once had a hardware store not unlike Koosharem’s, but most died out with the growth of bigger chain stores. But DeLange doesn’t believe Wal-Mart would ever be attracted to such a small market, especially with people who are so devoted to supporting their main local business. It might have something to do with the nature of the residents.

“In this town you gotta be careful; you throw a rock and hit your cousin.” DeLange says that most everyone in town is related.

Koosharem’s other claims to fame:

Some of the world’s largest lake trout have been caught in nearby Fish Lake National Forest. And the world’s largest elk ever measured was bagged in Box Creek Canyon above the town of Koosharem.