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Stop 23: The 1949 Hardy’s & Lingle’s Department Store

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Roy Hardy and his wife, Martha were owners of Hardy & Lingle’s Department Store, later Hardy’s Department Store on 7th Street. A native of Brooksville, Florida, he worked part-time during high school at a local store in Brooksville named Rogers Department Store that has local fame in its own. Roger’s daughter, Margaret Rogers Ghiotto, had a very similar story and after teaching physics at Brooksville High School, she opened the well-known Rogers Christmas House & Village in Brooksville, and similar to Hardy, she became a huge philanthropic force in Brooksville). After serving in the U.S. Army, Roy Hardy returned to retail work at another Brooksville department store, Lingles in Brooksville in 1947. 


     He shared that one day a salesman was visiting Lingles, and mentioned a vacant store in Dade City on 7th Street that would make a great mercantile retail store. With the help of Robert Reynolds Lingle in another ‘passing it forward’ benevolent effort, Hardy and Lingle purchased the Dade City space that had previously held two retail stores.  Soon after, Hardy and his wife moved to Dade City in 1949.


     With hard work and innovation, the Hardy & Lingle Store was a raving success and eventually Roy bought out his partner. For thirty-six years he operated the retail store. Sometimes known as the Clothier at 419 North 7th Street. In 1949 he opened the establishment and sold the business in 1984, upon his retirement.  Along the way, he commenced a second store in nearby Zephyrhills. 


     Some shots of the interior of the Dade City store show the extensive collection of beautiful clothing. Not surprising with his aptitude for comradery, Hardy was elected President of the Dade City Merchant’s Association in 1953 and created an atmosphere of service and teamwork. 


     The entrepreneurship and the care of customers continues in the location which is named Del Carmen Mexican Store. The owners Jose and Carmen Frias tripled the size of their store since they first opened in 1997. Frias, a former produce picker, first established his store as a market with produce. Frias has worked diligently to be a part of the community.  He has some extraordinary murals of Mexican scenes in the interior. He also realizes that he has a legacy to maintain, as he said in 2006,  Del Carmen Mexican Store is a reincarnation of a dry goods operated on the same spot from 1949 to 1985 by well-known businessman, Roy Hardy.”


     During this tenure, Roy and Martha became known as people you could really count on. They were philanthropic care givers of Dade City, and were often the impetus of many community efforts to address needs.

  • 1939

    Roy Thomas Hardy, a Brooksville native, worked at the Roger’s Department Store in Brooksville as a teenager. His dream was to operate a department store.

  • 1942

    Roy Hardy serves in U.S. Army.

  • 1947

    Upon return from U.S. Army, he works at a second department store in Brooksville named Lingles.

  • 1948

    With the assistance of partner Robert Lingle, Roy Hardy opens Hardy and Lingles Department Store on North Seventh Street.

  • 1949

    Hardy buys out his partner and changes name of store to Hardy’s Department Store.

  • 1953

    Hardy was elected President of the Dade City Merchants Association- Hardy was also: on the Selective Service Board for 11 years; member of the Dade City Baseball League; Past Vice President and later an Honorary Member of Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce; Past President of Downtown Dade City Main Street Association; and member of the American Legion Post 15. He was also a life time member of the Pioneer Florida Museum & Village and recipient of the prestigious Richard Tombrink Lifetime Achievement Award. With 69 years of perfect attendance membership in the Dade City Kiwanis Club, he also served as the President, Vice President; he served as Lt. Governor and Governor of Kiwanis for the Florida District in, and was inducted into the Florida Kiwanis Hall of Fame 2013. He and many local men in Dade City, Lacoochee, and Trilby started the “Concerned Citizens of Dade City” to help people in need. In 1985, the Kiwanis Club had a Roy & Martha Appreciation Day and Hardy Benevolent Fund was organized to help families with medical needs.

  • 1997

    Del Carmen Mexican Store was opened by Jose and Carmen Frias. See Stop 41 for more information.




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