Jacobi Hardware was established in 1856 by James Wilson as a harness and saddle supplier, and was purchased by Nathaniel Jacobi in 1866. At that time it was simply a “hard wares” business, but Nathaniel began to expand it to include a variety of dry goods. The business grew with locations moving from various addresses on Market Street to Front Street, with a warehouse on Water Street. In 1869, the business included wholesale and retail trade in building materials and hardware, cutlery, guns, and agricultural implements. In 1888 and 1889, Nathaniel Jacobi’s sons joined the company and the name changed to Jacobi Hardware Company. The Jacobi family and their descendants owned and operated the business for over 100 years. They continued to expand and offered products for sale to the community. In a 1926 catalogue, the products and brands were very diverse. In 1942, the Jacobi family split ownership to two business; one handling the restaurant, kitchen and home supplies and still in operation today under the name Jacobi-Lewis. Jacobi Hardware Company handled building materials, agricultural and sporting items. Over the years, some product lines were discontinued.
Walter G. Craven purchased the hardware business in 1970 from Nathaniel Jacobi, a descendant of the original purchaser, and change the name to Jacobi Hardware Company, Inc. He located the business under the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge on the riverfront at 723 Surrey Street. The Craven family owned and operated the business for 36 years until 2007 when they sold it to Stock Building Supply. Stock relocated the business to its current address on Highway 421 North and retained ownership for less than two years before selling to the current owners, Bob McEvoy and Debbie Davis.
Bob McEvoy and Debbie Davis have more than 50 years of combined industry experience. Debbie comes from a hardware family where she learned the business first hand as she was growing up. Bob has been working in the NC market for 25 years, and both he and Debbie have been in the Wilmington area for over 10 years. Per Bob McEvoy, as he displayed a copy of an 1886 invoice for the New Hanover County School District, buying a door, lock and windows from Jacobi Hardware, “There will always be a need for building material suppliers. Jacobi Hardware has been here in Wilmington for over 150 years and we want to continue to serve the community and fulfill their needs for the next 150 years.” Jacobi Hardware is open to the public and can be reached at (910)763-3613.
Want to see a Jacobi Catalog from 1926?