Since 1934, Norfolk Hardware and Home Center has provided the Boston community with high-quality products, helpful expertise and fair prices. More than a merchant, Norfolk Hardware and Home Center has been a partner for the community, supporting residents through the Great Depression, wartime, bad weather and more. Now in its fourth generation, this family-owned business has turned its attention to another local challenge, supporting efforts to house and rehabilitate the city’s homeless population.
“Homelessness is just a huge problem, especially in Boston where the weather gets cold,” says Ben Rosen, vice president and fourth generation family member of Norfolk Hardware and Home Center. “In the winter, being on the streets, you could literally freeze to death.”
In fact, homelessness appears to be a growing problem in Boston. Last year, the homeless population swelled due in part to evacuees relocating from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. The city’s homeless population rose to its highest level since 2013.
To address this issue, Norfolk Hardware and Home Center works with organizations that provide shelter and job training for homeless individuals. Namely, the business has partnered with The Pine Street Inn, a homeless services provider that serves nearly 2,000 people each day.
"They approached us about getting some cabinetry, some paint and some other items for their shelter,” Rosen says. “We jumped on it because it’s a great cause and it’s directly related to our industry.”
Norfolk Hardware and Home Center has also worked with Habitat for Humanity and Askia Academy, a local substance abuse rehabilitation facility. In each project, the local business finds a way to connect with the community through housing and building projects. Ultimately, these projects make the community a healthier and happier place to call home.
“It just feels good,” says Rosen. “At the end of the day, helping people means a lot. The ability to help people and give back to the community is really rewarding.”
The Rosen family has called Boston home for generations. In building its business, the family has also found a way to make the community feel more like home for customers and the less fortunate. From wartime to homelessness, Norfolk Hardware and Home Center finds meaningful ways to give back to its community.
For more information about Norfolk Hardware and Home Center, visit www.norfolkhardware.com.
This story is part of our ongoing ‘Local Memories, Lasting Impact’ series that highlights small, locally owned businesses and the differences they make in their communities.