Del Ray Doings

Meet the New Owners of the Del Ray Hardware Store

Del Ray Hardware owners Jay and Edea Portlance. (Photo: Eliza North)

Alexandria, VA – On New Year’s Day, Del Ray Hardware reopened with its new owners, Jay and Edea Portlance.

The previous owner, Chris Harvey, announced his retirement in October, and considered passing the baton, or selling the location, which could mean the end of the beloved store, which, despite its small size, always seemed to have everything neighbors needed.

When real estate broker Jay Portlance heard about this, he immediately knew what he had to do.

“It’s such prime real estate for a restaurant or some other type of establishment,” said Portlance. “I was adamant that we needed a hardware store in Del Ray and so my wife suggested we buy it. From there it all happened very quickly. I started talking to the owner and I think the whole process was five weeks.”

Portlance, who renovates properties as part of his real estate ventures, was already a regular customer at the shop, and had an emotional connection to it. The thought of losing this place did not sit comfortably with him. “If I don’t grab this somebody else someone is going to, I thought,” he said.

Portlance said the transition was seamless. Lawyers took care of the paperwork, while he worked closely with Chris Harvey to learn what he could about the business itself. “I tried to make this transition as stress-free and as profitable for him, and he was trying to make it as smooth as possible for me also. It was a very easy process especially since at the heart of this is the intention to continue the legacy of the store.”

Though Portlance launched this new venture to preserve the hardware store, he does come aboard with a new vision. He and his wife, Edea, are dog and cat rescuers, so it is important for them to merge their love of animals with the store. Because of this, dogs will be welcome for customers who wish to bring their furry friends along.

“We can’t stop rescuing dogs and cats,” said the new owner, “and I know Del Ray is very dog-centric, so it only makes sense.”

The interior of the establishment is going through some changes also. “We added almost 450 square feet by knocking down a couple of walls that were unnecessary. An office that was taking up space has been taken down, we’ve opened it all up. We also added more fixtures and displays, there’s a lot more space here now.”

Del Ray Hardware is located at 2003 B Mt Vernon Ave. Learn more at

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Eliza North

Eliza North is a British/American writer. She is currently a freelance reporter at Zebra Press. Eliza studied Social Sciences at Kensington and Chelsea College, and went on to earn her Bachelors in Psychology at the University of Kent in Canterbury England. She recently graduated from The University of Cambridge, earning her Masters degree in Creative Writing.

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