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In Arkansas, Hum’s takes rental very seriously.

Russell Do it Center ALEXANDER CITY, ALA.

The Russell Lands Inc. family put on their hard hats to break ground for a new store in Auburn, Ala., set to open in late spring. But the company already operates six retail home centers in the state. The first was this energetic, Alexander City gem in 1984. Each store and three additional pro yards are designed and targeted for their unique markets. Alexander City assistant manager Scott Pearson shared with HBSDealer one of their secrets: “We try to stay busy.”

Ace Hardware Top of the World UTQIAGVIK (BARROW), ALASKA

For three months of the year, the sun doesn’t rise in this arctic city formerly (and still) known as Barrow. And for three months in the summer, the sun doesn’t set. “When its dark, in the wintertime, we sell a lot of light bulbs,” said Herman Solomon, store manager. “And In times of 24-hour light, camping gear is big.” The 3,000 sq. ft. store is valued by hunters, contractors and locals. It’s not easy working in such a remote place. “We’re used to it,” Solomon said.


Filling the gap left by a retiring hardware store operator, owners Jeff and Nancy Van Nuy have high standards for their three-year-old home center


in north Central Arizona. Says Jeff: “Excellent quality with excellent service and competitive pricing.” The dealer is already spreading deep roots in the community — through donations to needy families, fund raisers, even supplying the lumber and paint to the local drama club. A recent store remodel keeps the business in All-Star territory.


Some stores call rental a “niche.” At Hum’s it’s a passion. The family business, owned by Bruce and Jason Hum, began renting heavy equipment in 1998, and the business has taken off. So has the store’s reputation as a repair and maintenance destination. The company turns its rental fleet at an aggressive pace (every few years) to better help customers do their jobs.

Hensel’s Ace Hardware ARCATA, CALIF.

With perhaps the sweetest tooth in all of hardware, Hensel’s is one of only two stores to receive the coveted “Coolest Store” honor from Ace Hardware in 2019. This fun (some would say funky) northern California retailer in two buildings is known for its full-service paint center, a strong housewares department and a candy store called Cook ‘n Sugar that carries sweets from around the world and around California. Ceva Courtemanche leads a veteran team.


A 2019 Best Hardware Store in Town honoree, Fruita has been getting top grades on its mystery shops for cleanliness and store layout. Fruita resets its merchandise (all 10 sections) twice a year, which general manager Loni Moore admitted ‘is a lot of work but it keeps us fresh.” The secret to their success? “We listen to our customers’ needs, and if we get two ‘ask for’s,’ we inventory it.” The hardware store is strongly connected to the community through such philanthropic efforts as the Grant A Wish Program.

Welden Hardware SIMSBURY, CONN.

The Welden “team” includes the owner, store manager, the college kid, and two canines (Jasper and Tucker). Owned and operated by John and Melissa Brett since 2004, Welden Hardware has served Farmington Valley for 130 years as the oldest, continuously operating hardware store in Simsbury. Its How-To videos on everything from spring lawn and equipment tips to combating ethanol damage have become must-see TV. “We pride ourselves on those videos,” Melissa said. “We live here, we work here, we are active members of the community. We want to help our neighbors.”

Wagner Hardware WILMINGTON, DEL.

Months away from extinction in 2015, Wagner Hardware got a new lease on business life in a new location and has flourished ever since. “People are finding us, and once they do, they keep coming back,” owner Chuck Wagner said. Wagner Hardware has its own private line of bird food and stocks 100 signature Pennsylvania bird feeders and houses. It is also known for its assortment of grills and special services like sharpening. “We do things the boxes don’t do, and neither do a lot of others stores. We go the extra mile; we’ll carry your purchase out to the car for you.”


Profile for ensembleiq

HBSD - May 2019  

HBSD - May 2019