By CRAIG KLEIMEYER
Brandino Brass doesn’t have their own brand, but the 63-year-old business has become so synonymous with hardware in Birmingham that people come into the store requesting it.
Tony Brandino, who passed away in May at age 96, started the business in 1948.
“He loved to sell and take care of people, and he treated all of his employees and customers like family,” said Tony’s grandson, Eric.
Tony, an avid University of Alabama fan who attended 500 consecutive football games, worked closely with Birmingham’s architects and designers as well as generations of homeowners. The store still sees customers come in whose parents and grandparents worked with Tony over the years.
“We practice what he did everyday,” said Eric. “He was so passionate.”
A vibrant array of brasses, bronzes and silvers lines the walls of the Brandino Brass showroom. The room overflows with door hardware, cabinetry hardware, kitchen and bath accessories and light fixtures. And, if that’s not enough, business plans to expand its shop in the coming months to include more lighting and smaller items.
“It will be a more functional business,” said Owner Buster Brandino, Tony’s son and Eric’s father. “We will now have almost double the space. It’s time to expand.”
After Tony retired, Buster and Eric re-established Brandino Brass in Birmingham in 2009. They first opened in Hoover but moved to Homewood a few months later.
“We wanted to be in Homewood. Tony always liked this area, and it was good for retail,” Eric said.
Buster said he knew the space was too small, but the business needed time to grow. “I was very leery about it because of the economic situation.”
The father and son both said they wanted to continue with Tony’s business mindset.
“We followed through with his expertise,” Buster said. “We started small, but we did everything to the best of our ability.”
The father-son relationship has added a fun aspect to the job, Buster said. “Working with Eric has been challenging and a lot of fun, but very rewarding.”
Buster and Eric were not sure how everything would play out, but marketing and targeting a new crowd have them ready to expand.
“I think the most gratifying thing when we re-opened was that people still recognized us. The name was still good in the marketplace,” Buster said. “The 25 to 35-year-old crew really didn’t know about us, which was a good thing, too.”
Buster said he believes their full service business and variety of prices and quality is better than big box companies like Home Depot and Lowe’s.
They take care of everything from a starter home to someone with an architect, a designer, a builder and more.
Ann Best, an interior designer with Henry Sprott Long & Associates, has worked with Brandino Brass on projects.
“They are knowledgeable salespeople,” Best said. “It’s a good place to get high-end, quality hardware.”
The Brandinos have made connections with everyone in the industry over the years. Buster said that when it comes to business, customer satisfaction is his number one goal. He said Brandino Brass also focuses on quality of work and quality of service.
George Israel with Israel & Associates, P.C. Architects has always been impressed by the expertise and service that Brandino Brass provides, and their location is perfect.
“It’s our go-to hardware shop,” Israel said. “It’s right down the street from our practice, and they have many choices of brands.”
Brandino Brass donates to the Alzheimer’s Association and the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, as well as to school auctions and other events.
2824 Central Avenue
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.