NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Hardware has always been a part of life for Jitu Maat.
“About 30 years ago my father was renovating rooms in Clinton Hill and he realized there were no black hardware stores, so he started his own,” he said.
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As a child, Jitu would spend days between courses with cleaning supplies and plumbing tools.
“I was just running around playing with sharp objects that I shouldn’t be playing with,” he said.
The 30-year-old has taken over his father’s business, Hardware 2.0, on the border between Clinton Hill and Prospect Heights in Brooklyn.
The shop sells gardening tools, chops wood, and has a wide range of home improvement tools.
Jitu puts its own accent on family trading to increase the amount of eco-friendly products in the store, keep the business active on social media, and fill the entrance with unusual and eye-catching potted plants.
“I don’t have enough time for boring plants,” he said.
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Indoor plants and DIY projects offer him the same sense of empowerment and accomplishment.
“You will get what you put in right back,” he said.
He takes pride in helping his customers get everything right.
“We won’t let you go until you figure out your project,” he said. “Just because it’s do-it-yourself doesn’t mean you have to learn it yourself.”
In return, he is grateful for the patience and encouragement his customers have shown in developing the business.
“They really let us know we’re doing the right thing and keep reminding me that it’s worth it,” he said.
At Hardware 2.0, Jitu strives to create a bright, inviting space that feels like a community center, a destination not just for tools but for conversations and connections as well. He knows that a neighborhood hardware store can often serve as an unofficial welcoming committee for new residents.
“If you move anywhere you will always find the hardware store,” he said.
He remains aware of this and looks forward to building relationships with customers.
“I knew all of my neighbors on the block when I grew up, and I still want to maintain the sense of community no matter who moves in or out to have a connection with where you live,” he said.
860 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11238
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