"Do you carry widgets?" the man asked.
They walked to the third aisle that was no more than five or six feet wide. Both sides had
shelves stacked so high with merchandise that one needed a step stool to reach the top.
The clerk pointed to a shelf at about knee level and said, "Here are the widgets we
carry, sir. Can I help you further?"
There were at least four different kinds of widgets. The man looked confused.
"What do you want one for?" the clerk, who was and is the manager of the store,
asked. His name is Vic Feany.
"I need to put one in the gizzapooch under the gummer," the man answered.
"It stopped working."
"Well then, this is the one you need," Vic said as he picked up the widget.
"Do you need anything else?"
"No, that will do just fine."
They walked to the cash register at the front of the store. The man looked around as they
walked down the aisle. He saw pots, pans, nails, tools of every description " even a gun
shop with rifles, pistols, shotguns and ammunition.
There were gadgets that he hadn't the slightest idea how to identify.
"How long has the store been here?" he asked.
"I've been here for over 20 years," Vic answered.
Don Guglielmino, the owner, walked up.
"Newhall Hardware opened in 1947," he told the man.
He helped finance the Santa Clarita National Bank that opened in the mid-1960s. He and
Elisha "Aggie" Agajanian ran that bank for years. Don G.'s financial genius and
Aggie's salesmanship made it a success.
One day, Aggie wanted to borrow $500 from the Bank of America that was on San Fernando
Road in Old Newhall.
The long-time manager told Aggie he needed his father's permission to get the money.
It was after World War II, and Aggie had served in the Army. By the time he asked for the
loan, Aggie had become a success in his own right.
He was angry. Aggie is glorious when he is mad!
Someone suggested he start his own bank. He bought a ticket to Washington, D.C. and got
on the plane. As he says, one of his body parts squeezed and parted at great speed all the
way to our Capitol.
He walked into the bureaucracy that controls the creation of national banks. Anyone who
knows Aggie knows that he is neither shy nor quiet. He walked into the office, and in his
best stentorian voice asked, "How do I start a bank?"
Thus, Santa Clarita National Bank opened on Lyons Avenue and became an instant success.
Largely because of the financial genius of Don Guglielmino and the salesmanship of Aggie,
they opened branches. They sold the bank to Security Pacific, which was later taken over
by the Bank of America.
Strange, how parts of our lives come full circle!
"I sold it at just the right time," Don G. told me.
Long before, Don G. bought and still proudly drives a Lamborghini automobile.
You cannot believe how many times I have walked around that car in admiration. I used
to race cars, street and otherwise, in the '50s. I would have killed myself if I had something
that powerful in those days.
In any event, Newhall Hardware opened in 1947. If you need a widget, you can get it
there. The discount warehouse stores will never have heard of it. Newhall Hardware will
have it in stock, or Vic will know how to get it.
When you go in, introduce yourself to Vic and to Don G., if he is there. They are both
These stories are our heritage. We tell and re-tell them so that we may
preserve them, as we must preserve and renovate Old Newhall.
Good retail stores. Good coffee shops. Dressed-up frontages in Victorian, Old West and Old
California styles will go well with Mr. Hart's mansion and the Historical Society's village.
Let us keep Santa Clarita a great place to live!