It is a clean, well-lighted store now, carrying Miele vacuums and Baldwin door knobs, so it’s hard to imagine what it was like in 1919 when it started as an Army-Navy store. I assume back then they stocked such things as wool blankets and leggings and mess kits.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the name of the proprietors. It is owned and operated by the third generation of Adlers. I especially love walking in and seeing Mrs. Adler, wife of the founder’s son, behind the counter. She’s been working in the store since 1957! When I didn’t see her on two separate visits, I assumed she was a snow bird who had left for the warm weather of Florida. When at last I saw her again, I mentioned the conclusion I had jumped to. She seemed indignant at the idea of abandoning her post, and was quick to tell me she had no interest in being anywhere but Providence.
And that personal connection must have something to do with the wonderful customer service I’ve experienced in the six months I’ve been shopping here.
One of their clerks convinced me that I could install a deadbolt myself, rather than calling a handyman to do it. He even walked me through the process using an actual deadbolt and explaining the pitfalls that could make the simple (it was) process difficult for a novice.
Another time, I called the store in desperation, looking for the names of plumbers, and they were generous with referrals. I was new to Providence; I didn’t know who else to call.
So, in addition to finding the usual screws, Goof Off adhesive remover, and snow shovels, Adler’s is a great place for advice, recommendations, and a taste of shopping like it was in the “good old days.”