Last month, national home improvement chains Lowe's and Home Depot both reported huge increases in earnings for this year's second quarter (April to June), benefiting from the ongoing resurgence of the country's housing market.
Locally, hardware and home improvement stores say their earnings are more of a mixed bag.
Andrew Pile, vice president of Pile Hardware on Charleston's West Side, said his family's store has seen an increase in sales from last year.
"This year we've seen an increase in business but I think on our end primarily it's because of the summer we've had," Pile said. "Our business is very weather-dependent."
The store sells everything from roofing material to basic hardware like bolts, nails and other tools -- but its biggest-selling item is lawn equipment.
"With a summer like this with plenty of rain and plenty of sunshine, it keeps people outside and it keeps people working," Pile said.
"It's kind of hard to measure though, because we don't have any kind of litmus test for why someone is coming in here to buy something," Pile said. "If they're repairing, upgrading or re-modeling, we don't ask, so we don't really know."
Still, he's optimistic about the future. "I've been seeing the reports of real estate increasing in some areas by 15 percent or more, I'm definitely hopeful it helps business," Pile said.
Family-owned Zegeer Hardware on Charleston's East End, has seen an upswing in business. Owner Richard Zegeer said year-over-year sales have increased, although he didn't want to discuss specifics.
At the Best Hardware store in Marmet, owner Harley Harrah said "people are remodeling on a smaller scale."
His sales in power equipment, like chain saws, power drills and table saws, are still strong.
"I think generally, people are just sharper customers now. That's the biggest thing," he said.