It’s not so easy to get around inside Busy Bee Hardware.

The shop, located at 1521 Santa Monica Blvd., is a world full of small aisles and shelves lined with all the tools and supplies.

Running the hive of home improvement has its own set of challenges as Laura Hausladen has learned over the past few weeks.

Hausladen, a retired music teacher, recently moved back to her hometown of Santa Monica from the Ozarks in Missouri with her husband of 34 years to take over as manager of the store her father, Donald Kidson, has owned since April 1, 1963.

“It’s like every day I have no idea what I’m going to come up against,” Hausladen said. “For instance I just did my first payroll and that wasn’t easy. So there is a parabolic learning curve. And I think it will stay like that for a little while longer.”

Even though Hausladen is still getting the hang of running the store, she is already familiar with what it is like to work in the store, having helped with the books and run the cash register as a teenager.

“Dad brought home the statements, and gradually I was marking off ledgers. It’s funny, cause when I look back those are the first checks I wrote. And then I made myself an old-fashioned gingham dress and every Saturday I got behind the cash register. And in those days the machine didn’t tell you how much to give in change, so some people would try and stump me. It is nice to remember the old timers coming in with cash in baking powder tins. There are a lot of good memories in this store for me.”

Hausladen is looking to make changes to the store, like increasing their social media presence, and changing their operating hours to what they were when she was young, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. And she wants the store to run under the same principles it did when her father managed things.

“My father loves helping people with their problems. So we want to retain that sense of service to the customers and community,” Hausladen said. “It’s amazing how many people come in and how my dad would solve their problems and help them. He’d tell them, ‘Well you could do it this way, but there are a couple other ways you could do that too.’”

Kidson is still involved with the store, stopping in to bring his daughter lunch every day and talking with her about business matters every night. Kidson said that he has always lived by the idea that we need to love our neighbor and look to serve all mankind

“I’ve surely been served by this hardware store. And I want to make sure it will keep on fulfilling the needs of employees and customers,” Kidson said. “One customer once told me ‘I’ve spent so much money in this store!’ But he said that it had been the best investment he’d ever made because it made everything else in his life more valuable because it kept it together.”

Hausladen said the store is full of employees who are really paying attention to the details and who look forward to helping people.

“A couple of our guys are younger and they are looking to get us a good camera and get us on Instagram. And one did a great window splash for us. And that’s great because as a former schoolteacher I love to see people’s talents. Then we have more mature employees who know our older stock. And some of our stuff you can’t find anywhere else anymore. And so many people buy on the internet that those employees want to put certain items on Amazon and help buyers that way.”

Busy Bee’s floor manager, Christopher Torres, said in terms of customer service the store is like a dying breed.

“People coming in here are really looking for a specific kind of experience,” Torres said. “And 50 percent or more of customers who come in are women, and they come in thinking they can’t do something and they come back later saying ‘I did it!’ And that makes us really happy.”

Hausladen has an emotional attachment to the store that can’t be denied, but she honestly believes they are the right choice when it comes to home improvement.

“I think everybody should come in here. There is Home Depot and Lowe’s. But we are different. Small, family owned, and locally owned. We’re special.”

jennifer@www.smdp.com