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Lester's Hardware Company and Rental Center serving others since 1953

The Old Store around 1990

Tom Harper

Gerald Lester

​Lester's Hardware Co. was founded by H.J. Hearn, Tom Harper, and Gerald Lester in 1953 to fill what they saw as need for a full-time hardware store in Kinston. H.J. Hearn and Tom Harper were both in the tobacco business, and Lester, fresh out of the service, was the only one with previous hardware experience. For the first 11 years, the business was operated on South Queen Street near the courthouse. Lester's moved to its present 12,000-square-foot store in 1964. Tom Harper's untimely death in 1971 started a chain of events that led to H.J. Hearn becoming the sole shareholder. In 1972, Jim Hearn returned home from Georgia and took over mangement of the store from his father. Lester's introduced  ECHO power equipment to Kinston in 1973, and remains a full service dealer to this day. The small engine repair shop recently serviced an ECHO 302 chainsaw purchased almost 40 years ago. In 2015, Lester's started a Rental Program, and stocks a full line of equipment and tools. Lester's continues to bring quality products at competitive prices with unsurpassed service. 

Present Day

Gerald Lester in Lester Hardware Post Office Drop
​(no longer there)

  • H.J. Hearn in hat
  • Jim Hearn in Blue shirt
  • Curtis Patterson in plaid

The History of Lester's Hardware Company and Rental Center