The tall sign at the northeast corner of Fallbrook St & Main has changed its face many times in the past 65 years.  Currently, it is the colorful ACE Hardware sign.  This corner at 640 S. Main Ave, has long been a hardware store, but not always.  Here is the history of this corner of Fallbrook.

In 1957, a Fallbrook realtor named Mike Hall owned this lot.  Hall had his small real estate office here about where the signposts are today.[1]  Buy & Save Grocery chain leased the lot from Hall to build a 14,000 square foot supermarket with 35,000 square feet of parking.  The new building was designed with the latest in fireproof cement walls.[2]

 The grocery store grand opening was in December of 1957.  Chuck Sayre, who had previously owned Sayre’s Market a couple blocks north on Main Ave, sold his store and became the manager of the new Buy & Save.  Happy to collect the lease payments, Mike Hall moved his real estate office to across the street. 

Originally, the Buy & Save sign was planned to be installed on the roof of the supermarket.  However, in a last-minute design change, the 25-foot sign was mounted to two 62-foot-tall pillars planted in concrete on the ground.  At 62 feet from top to bottom, the tallest sign in Fallbrook could be seen from one end of Main Ave to the other.[3]

Buy & Save was popular.  Spacious, with its own bakery and plenty of parking, it was convenient.  Buy & Save competed directly with the Safeway store at the opposite end of Main Ave. (where Bonita Foods is today).  A few years later in May 1962, the much larger Mayfair Supermarket chain bought all of the Buy & Save chain.[4]  The Mayfair name was now put on the tall sign at the corner of Main & Fallbrook.  Mayfair supermarket remained here for 11 years.  With two supermarkets on Main Ave during these years; Mayfair at 640 S. Main and Safeway at 311 N. Main, some people in Fallbrook saw a need for a new hardware store.

The change came in 1973 when Fallbrook Lumber bought the Mayfair store at 640 S. Main and transformed the supermarket into a locally owned hardware store called The Good Guys Home Center.[5]  The Good Guys, a division of Fallbrook Lumber, would be here for the next 25 years.  The name changed again in 1998 when Hanks Hardware & Lumber replaced The Good Guys Home Center at this site.[6]  Hanks Hardware & Lumber would be here for the next 8 years. 

In 2007, Joe’s Hardware store came to Fallbrook.  Joe’s Hardware would be a familiar sight here until mid 2021.[7]

In summary, the building at the NE corner of Fallbrook and Main was originally constructed as a supermarket, but it has been a hardware store of various brands since 1973.

Tom Frew,
FHS Historian


    1.  Fallbrook Enterprise May 11, 1957.  The 1957 Fallbrook telephone directory lists Mike Hall Realty at 634 S. Main.  Mike Hall passed away suddenly soon after moving his office.
    2. Fallbrook Enterprise January 11, 1957.
    3. Fallbrook Enterprise November 27, 1957.  Sign is said to be the tallest in Fallbrook, and possibly the tallest in North County.
    4. Fallbrook Enterprise May 10, 1962.
    5. Fallbrook Enterprise story on May 17, 1973 and Fallbrook telephone directories 1973-1997.
    6. Fallbrook telephone directories 1998 -2006.
    7. Fallbrook telephone directories 2007 – 2021 and Village News story on June 24 2021.