NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – For Jitu Maat, hardware has always been a part of life.
“About 30 years ago, my father was renovating spaces in Clinton Hill, and he realized there were no Black-owned hardware stores, so he started his own,” he said.READ MORE: Source of Knowledge: A Newark Bookstore Honors African Ancestry
Jitu spent days as a kid between aisles of cleaning supplies and plumbing tools.
“It was just me running around, playing with sharp objects that I shouldn’t be playing with,” he said.
Now 30, he’s taken over his dad’s business, Hardware 2.0, which sits on the border of Clinton Hill and Prospect Heights in Brooklyn.
The shop sells gardening implements, chops wood, and stocks a vast array of tools for home improvement.
Jitu is putting his own spin on the family trade, looking to increase the amount of eco-friendly products in the store, keeping the shop active on social media, and filling the entryway with unusual and striking potted plants.
“I don’t have enough time for boring plants,” he said.
For him, houseplants and DIY projects offer the same sense of empowerment and accomplishment.
“What you put into it, you get right back,” he said.READ MORE: Ben 'Moody' Harney Helms NYC's Only Oyster Cart
He takes pride in helping his customers get it right.
“We’re not going to let you leave until you’ve figured out your project,” he said. “Just because it’s called ‘do-it-yourself’ doesn’t mean you have to learn it yourself.”
In return, he’s grateful for the patience and encouragement his customers have shown as the store evolves.
“They really let us know that we’re doing the right thing and constantly reminding me that this is so worth it,” he said.
At Hardware 2.0, Jitu is eager to cultivate a bright, welcoming space that feels like a community center, a destination not only for tools but also for conversation and connection. He knows a neighborhood hardware store can often serve as the unofficial welcoming committee for new residents.
“When you move somewhere, you’re always going to find the hardware store,” he said.
He stays mindful of this and looks forward to building relationships with customers.
“When I grew up, I did know all my neighbors on the block, and I still want to keep that sense of community, no matter who moves in or moves out, to have a connection to where you live,” he said.
860 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11238
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