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Earthquake Prep

The Loma Prieta earthquake and aftermath of October 17, 1989, demonstrated the importance of civilian volunteers during a disaster. At the Marina fire, volunteers assisted the San Francisco Fire Department in those labor-intensive operations such as leading hose lines by hand over great distances to supply water from the Bay to the fire site. In a larger-scale disaster, the use of volunteers may be even more widespread and more necessary.
Our Fourth Street store crew member Frank is probably more prepared for a disaster than most. He is a Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) member, an Auxiliary Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) member, and a California Highway Patrol volunteer. In addition, he is a licensed ham radio operator and will soon be certified in the National Child Passenger Safety Certification training program, which means he will be able to install child safety seats and conduct child safety seat checks.
We asked Frank to put together a list of items that everyone should have in their home when the “big one” hits. Shown here are Frank’s recommendations for some of the important items to have on hand. This is a partial list, but you can stop by any of our locations and ask for the full list.
NERT and ALERT are programs offered by the San Francisco Fire Department and Police Department, respectively. East Bay residents can also become certified in the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program, a division of FEMA. For more information on any of these programs and how you can become certified, visit these websites:
And feel free to stop by our downtown Fourth Street location for free advice from Frank!


Here is the complete list of recommendations from San Francisco Fire Department Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT)

• First aid kit – a decent, well-stocked kit, including a couple of weeks’ supply of any prescription medications you need. Also include pharmaceutical-grade crazy (skin) glue.
• Cash – plenty of it because depending on the event, credit cards may not be useful. Consider having about $100–$200 in ones; that way you never need change. A couple rolls of quarters could come in handy. Do not “flash” it around.
• 1 set of clothing – think layers, include 3 pairs of underwear, 3 pairs of socks, and a comfortable, sturdy pair of shoes.
• A blanket – to keep you warm. Consider a Mylar emergency blanket, which is lightweight and packs up small.
• Crank-style flashlight and snap lights such as glow sticks.
• Whistle – good for locating people in a crowd, at night, or in low-visibility conditions.
• Crank-style/battery-operated NOAA weather/AM-FM radio.
• Nonperishable food – energy bars are good and take up little space.
• Water.
• Goggles – protect your eyes! • Hand and feet warmers – get the carbon-activated kind; they work great.
• Rope – has endless uses; choose various sizes (rubber bands, too).
• Big black trash bags – use as a poncho or cut open to make a tent.
• Multi-use knife.
• Dust masks (2 per person) – best if heavy-duty respirator-type masks.
• Duct tape.
• Plastic sheeting.
• Copies of passport, driver’s license, insurance, and any other important documents.
• A map of the area you plan to go. • Toiletries. • Maxi pads – can also be used as a bandage if needed.
• Sticky pad and a pen and pencil in case you need to leave a note for family to let them know where you went or where to meet. Also, keep at least one wallet-size photo of your immediate family, children, and pets. This is crucial in case you get separated and need to enlist the help of others to find your loved ones.
• Gel antibacterial handwash (nonrinse) – available at any pharmacy and most supermarkets and convenience stores, for cleaning hands and even wounds in a pinch. You never know what you may have to touch in an emergency.
• A pair of leather work gloves again – think rescue and retrieval.
• Pet-care products.
San Francisco Fire Department Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) 415-970-2022 – email: – website:

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Our 10th Annual Earth Day Inventory

This year marks our 10th anniversary tracking our “quadruple bottom line” and my 10th anniversary at COLE HARDWARE (celebrated March 1). I knew it was going to be a special place to work when I went to a mixer in my first month working here. Multiple people responded, “I love COLE HARDWARE!” when I told them where I worked. And I have not been disappointed.
One of the first projects tasked to me was getting our stores certified as Green Businesses with the San Francisco Department of the Environment. This has been one of my proudest professional accomplishments. Changing our light fixtures to more energy efficient models was a lot easier than changing our behavior when it came to composting and realizing we could eliminate some of our landfill trash dumpsters in exchange for larger recycling bins. All along the way, thearthdaye folks at the Department of the Environment were there to guide us, and we’ve made some great friends over the years.
Last year we were awarded the California Product Stewardship Council’s Infinity Arrow Award for our recycling efforts. (Another career highlight for me!) David Karp and I were humbled and honored to fly to Los Angeles to receive this statewide award on behalf of our warehouse crew members, who deal with the thousands of pounds of recyclables we collect on a daily basis.
Of course, none of this would be possible if Rick Karp didn’t have the vision and foresight to partner with the vibrant Department of the Environment 20 years ago with a spent battery take-back program. This was well before Hollywood jumped on the bandwagon and “earth friendly” became trendy. Over time, we’ve become somewhat recycling experts within the community—we get calls almost daily on how to dispose of hundreds of consumer products. We think it’s pretty cool, too, that COLE HARDWARE is viewed as the go-to place for answers. While many companies report on a triple bottom line, we created our own “quadruple bottom line” based on these areas of importance to us:
• Environmental advocacy
• Social advocacy
• Workplace advocacy
• And to operate a profitable business, too COLE HARDWARE continues to be the best family-run business to work for, and I am happy to continue to spearhead our environmental and community outreach efforts for the next decade.

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Our Online Urban Gift Registry

COLE HARDWARE is pleased to announce our new online Urban Gift Registry service. Traditionally, gift registries have been the domain of department and hopresentme stores; however, we get many requests for a more practical registry of tools, hardware, and garden supplies. Because many couples get married now at an older age than in generations past, they often are merging established households and may not need many housewares. And with a fixer-upper in San Francisco costing a pretty penny, many couples starting out just don’t have a big budget for remodeling after a hefty down payment. They may choose the do-it-yourself route to make their house a home, thus needing a sturdy drill or a gallon of premium Benjamin Moore® Aura® paint more than a formal set of china. Registries are also no longer just for weddings. They are now common for housewarmings, birthdays, and first apartments or even for recent high school graduates heading off to college. With the mild weather and casual lifestyle we enjoy in the Bay Area, it’s not unusual for couples to register for a deluxe Weber® grill or Big Green Egg® to entertain their guests year-round or for garden tools for their outdoor areas that need some help. A registry assists friends and family in choosing a thoughtful gift desired by the recipients and allows friends and family far and near to send a gift to a newlywed or new home owner and feel they are part of the celebration. Community Partners are also welcome to set up a registry for items that they are in need of for their operations.
To set up a registry online, just click on the registry link on our home page. You can also visit our store and handpick the items you would like in your registry. One of our registry attendants will scan the items you choose, and we will set up your registry so that your loved ones can order your gift online, order by phone, or purchase it in the store. We’ll keep track of what is purchased, too, so overlapping gifts are not a problem, and we will even deliver your gifts in the City for free. Our Urban Gift Registry is available for our tool, garden, and home departments—basically our entire store—whatever your occasion. To set up an appointment at one our stores or for any questions, simply e-mail service@ or call 415/674-8913 ext. 4.
— Rick Karp, President, aka Keeper of the Karma

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Safer Choice Labels

COLE HARDWARE has always been a leader in stocking and promoting greener products for our customers. As part of that commitment, we are glad to feature products that carry the Safer Choice label from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Products carrying the Safer Choice label are safer for fasafechoicemilies, pets, communities, and the environment. All the chemicals in labeled products have been reviewed by the EPA to be the safest possible, using strict criteria for environmental and health safety and verified by an independent third party. For consumers and purchasers, especially those with allergies or sensitivities, Safer Choice also awards a “fragrance-free” label to easily identify products that have been verified as free of fragrance materials. More than 2,000 products, from almost 500 manufacturers, currently qualify to carry the Safer Choice label, including household cleaners, laundry and dish detergents, and floor-care and automotive-care products. A number of well-known consumer brands carried in our stores sport the label, such as Seventh Generation™, CLR®, and Bissell®. Keep an eye out for the label on products when shopping for safe and effective cleaners for yourself and your family. During the week of April 4, when the EPA officially rolls out the new labels, look for shelf tags highlighting Safer Choice–labeled products at our stores. For more information about Safer Choice and where to find the products carrying the label, check out the EPA’s website at www.epa. gov/saferchoice.

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Side Walk Sale – Rockridge Store

Time to clean the cupboards! We’ll be cleaning house and lining the sidewalks at our Rockridge store with hundreds of bargains! We have lots of merchandise that is in good shape but perhaps a bit shopworn—ripped packaging or maybe a little scratched or dusty. And we need to empty the warehouse to make room for new and exciting summer merchandise. Everything in our sidewalk sale will be marked down 25% to 75%, so you’ll be sure to find some exceptional deals.


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Weber® Q® 1200™ Gas Grills

The Weber Q 1200 is full-size fun in a portable package! It’s perfect for camping, tailgating, or wherever adventure leads you. Porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates provide 189 square inches of cooking area. The sturdy cast-aluminum lid and body and glass-reinforced nylon frame ensures that your Q will deliver years of backyard barbecues. And with a variety of vivid lid hues, you can cook in color and express your fun personality at the same time! What does
your Weber color say about you?
Fuchsia: Energy and excitement are two of your characteristics.
Red: You’re passionate about your barbecuing. Orange: Knock knock. Orange you fun and whimsical? Or a huge Giants fan? Green: Nature and eco-awareness are important to you.
Blue: You’re reliable and loyal. True blue is constant and dependable.
Purple: Regal and mystical might define you.
Titanium: You are strong and precious, like the metal.
Black: The color of power, elegance, and formality. Is this you? (Skus 8432627, 8394777, 8432494 , 8432585,
8432577, 8432569, 8432536, 8379422, $199.99) Assortment may vary by location. All colors can be special ordered.


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Meet Marc: Our Master Locksmith

marc-locksmithYou may already know Marc Estoque, our Master Class Locksmith. Marc, a native San Franciscan, has been working with COLE HARDWARE for more than 20 years; in fact, he has over 30 years experience installing and maintaining locks in the many Victorians and Edwardians in San Francisco. He takes pride in his work and offers unparalleled customer service in the COLE HARDWARE tradition.

A typical call for Marc these days is a “rekey” (combination change) whereby, for any number of reasons, a customer needs his or her locks changed. Marc also gets calls when customers are locked out of their house or car. In most cases, Marc can provide a fast 30-minute response time.

Marc says, “People should take a few minutes to recall who might have copies of their property keys, such as a former housemate, dog walker, tradesperson, contractor, and so on.” Many people in San Francisco live in shared housing. Locks and keys are rarely changed when a property is bought, sold, or rerented, which means former tenants and their friends, associates, and others might still have keys to your home. Marc suggests that homeowners, business owners, and property managers consider purchasing a lock system that will block unauthorized duplication of keys. This concept is called “key control.” COLE HARDWARE carries locks that operate with high security and patented keys. Marc advises his customers to consider master key systems as another option.

When asked what advice he could give to our customers, Marc said, “Customers should consider getting a security consultation if they have any doubts or concerns about the overall security of their property. Additionally, they should install quality locks such as Schlage or high-security locks like Medeco.” If a customer would like a security consultation, Marc can do a complete walk-through of the property. He will look for any security vulnerabilities and point out any substandard hardware (locks, windows, doors, and so on). He will then provide a written summary that will include suggestions as well as hardware recommendations. A standard security consultation is $150. If customers choose Marc to upgrade their security, the $150 fee is applied to the final bill. For the month of March, Marc is offering a special price of $49.99 for a security consultation—a $100 savings!

Marc is versed in the many different high-security locks and their installations, including commercial applications such as magnetic card readers, biometric (fingerprint reader) locks, and push-button entry systems.

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