NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Ms. Clara Hayes is 92 years old with no plans to retire.
“I’m going to stay here as long as I can,” she said.
She’s been running Macon Hardware, aka Macon 5 & 10, for nearly 70 years.
“This is a variety store, a little of everything,” she said.
A North Carolina native, she moved to New York City at age 18. She was working as a seamstress when she met her late husband Peter. They decided to buy the Bedford-Stuyvesant store, where he’d been working from age 12.
After Peter’s death, Clara continued to run the shop with help from volunteers like neighbor Catherine Solomon and her son Warren Hayes.
“I came back to try to keep an eye on my mom,” Warren said. “She thinks that she’s keeping an eye on me.”
The store has become a community gathering place, where family and friends drop by to say hello throughout the day.
“It’s home with us. It’s home,” she said.
Clara works eight-hour days in summer and six-hour days in winter—every day except for Sunday.
“When I go home at night, I can’t get back here time enough,” she said.
Clara’s favorite part of the job?
“Running my mouth,” she said.
Clara is a beloved local figure and loves her community in return. She donates to church organizations and gives items away to those who can’t afford them.
“We love everybody,” she said.
Ms. Clara says she knows developers would like to get their hands on the property, but she has no plans to sell.
“I came here with $28. I bought three houses since I was here. So what could I ask for? Isn’t it a gift?” she said.
339 Macon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11216
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