Donald Bujnak, the owner and namesake of Don’s Hardware, has died. He was 85.
He started Don’s Appliance Company in January 1969, which moved and became Don’s Appliance and Hardware in Belleville in 1971. The store moved to its current location at 1454 Boul Drive in 2007.
Bujnak, who died Friday, is survived by his third wife, Jean, two sons, two daughters, and four step-daughters. His son, Mark, and daughters, Linda Hassall and Donna Homrighausen, still work at the store.
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“All five kids started ... working (here) at 14,” said Mark. “Me and my two sisters are still here; I’m full time.”
Don Bujnak moved into a nursing home but still came to the store every day, employee Bob Moskop said.
“He might not be all day, and he might be cat-napping, but he was here every day,” Moskop said, who added that Don always wanted the store stocked for the customer.
“It was a Don-ism; he wanted the shop full,” Moskop said.
Bujnak said most of the employees have been with Don’s for at least 10 years.
“It’s a good place to work. Low pressure, he never really scolds you, just corrects you,” he said of how his dad treated employees.
“A lot of times the customers want to buy something they think they need,” Mark said, adding that customers often want to buy more than one size or item just in case.
“He would advise them on what they did need; he’ll guide them into buying one that’s going to fix the problem.”
Daughter Linda Hassall texted a message about her dad, calling him the most generous man she knew.
“I hope I can carry on and be just like him,” she said.
Don’s Hardware will close at 4 p.m. Monday and reopen at 1 p.m. Tuesday. Visitation for Bujnak is from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday and 8 to 10 a.m. Tuesady at George Renner & Sons Funeral Home in Belleville. A funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Belleville.