Shopping from the past: Daniel Hotel Supply

One of our favorite local phantom businesses (window displayed merchandise but random, bi-yearly hours of operation), Daniel Hotel Supply, has finally formally closed up shop. Over the last ten years, we shopped at Daniel Hotel Supply perhaps five or six times. Purchases included several different vintage dish sets, oddball utensils and a massive pair of kitchen tongs.

More interesting than the stock merchandise was Mr. Daniel’s archaic shopping system.

Each object in his showroom had a little typed stock number that, in theory, corresponded to open stock in the back storage room. Mr. Daniel himself would retreat back into the storage room to search for the requested item/s.

Typically, Mr. Daniel would bring back a near match, for example, a bowl made of agatized wood rather than vitrified porcelain. We were so grateful that the frail Mr. Daniel had even come back from the storage room that we were grateful to purchase whatever he brought us.

Sara reports that she once waited in the main showroom for over twenty minutes. She ended up going home and phoning the store to check on the status of Mr. Daniel.

At the liquidation sale, we were finally able to walk back into the storage rooms and see what might have delayed Mr. Daniel on that day. Much of the original inventory was still packed in hundreds of cardboard boxes filled with hay and vintage newspapers from the 1960s. Sara obsessively searched for agatized wood salad bowls (never found) while I played with the sculptural flooring samples (which I’m still wishing I had brought back home for my archive).

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