The Sears Hardware store at 1075 Hill Road is an enduring fixture in the commercial landscape of Pickerington.
Long a corporate-controlled entity, the hardware store will celebrate the fact it is now locally owned and operated with a ribbon-cutting at 3 p.m. Friday, June 21, and assorted festivities from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 22.
Front and center at the store's "Grand Opening" Friday will be an 89-year old employee, Brooklyn-born and raised Dominic Lipari, who will be charged with cutting the ribbon, ushering in a new era of prosperity for the store.
Having Lipari cut the ribbon is a fitting tribute to a man who is indispensable to the success of the store, said Operations Manager Jeff Brown.
"He adds a wealth of personality," Brown said of Lipari.
"He has a huge amount of knowledge and has enough charisma for six people.
"Everybody lives to come to see Dom," Brown said.
Lipari has been employed by Sears going on 16 years, first at the Reynoldsburg store and for the past 10 years at Pickerington.
New owner Mark Myers said Lipari pitches in everywhere.
"Every employee will go to him if they have a hardware question," Myers said.
"He will have the answer. He will come in on 'truck day' and put the paint out, the heaviest stuff we have in the store," Myers said.
Brown pointed out the paint cans are "8 to 10 pounds. (Lipari) grabs two at a time and puts them on the shelf."
A self-described "ordinary guy," Lipari has led a life that can aptly be described as extraordinary.
Customers will quickly discover that as well. There's not too many hardware stores in this day and age where one can take a trip to the hardware store to buy a box of nails and come away with a history lesson.
Lipari is a Marine to the core, and served in both World War II and the Korean War.
He served in the South Pacific in World War II. Attached to an anti-aircraft outfit, Lipari took part in the assault on Guam and towards the end of the war was assigned to a "replacement battalion" to get ready for the impending invasion of Japan.
"We were practicing maneuvers, we were getting ready," Lipari said.
"They were bringing army people from Europe," he said.
"That was going to be something," Lipari said.
President Truman's fateful decision to drop the atomic bombs changed history.
Lipari, on a troop ship in Japan when General MacArthur signed the papers for Japan's surrender Sept. 2, 1945, went from preparing for an invasion of Japan to being part of an occupying force.
In 1950, the Korean War would call him back to service right after his honeymoon.
"We landed in Inchon, I was in that assault," said Lipari, who said he stayed in Korea for another two years.
Upon his return to the States, Lipari would take a job with Bell Labs, where he worked for 38 years before retiring in 1989.
His military training served him well as he went on to hold six patents from the transistor and fiber-optic development era.
He also patented a device which allows engineers to determine torque needs to tighten nuts and bolts, which is still being used to this day.
"Those torque wrenches out there," said Brown, pointing to his inventory, "(Lipari's) the reason we have them."
When he's not at Sears, Lipari said he can be found at one of his many favorite fishing holes in the area.
"I still change the oil in my car, I ride a bicycle and I love to fish, any place I can go," Lipari said.