Looking for that hard to find hardware? Check out Hardman's Hardware in Summersville, West Virginia.
The present-day Hardman Supply Company actually began as two 1800's produce firms. In 1907, Spencer businessman Owen Ruby (O.R.) Hardman merged them, renaming his company Hardman Produce. In 1928, he incorporated as Hardman Supply Company and built the modern brick building on Market Street. The company expanded further by purchasing produce, wool, poultry and other agricultural goods throughout central West Virginia and selling to customers as far as Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Business increased in the 1930's and 1940's by his addition of product lines in hardware, appliances and farm machinery.
Charles O. Hardman, O.R.'s son, joined the firm after graduating from West Virginia University and serving in the Army during World War II. Under his direction, the business moved more in the hardware direction and slowly phased out the produce department. Expansion continued in the following decades with the addition of building supplies, ready-mix concrete plants, and additional stores in neighboring communities.
The 1970's brought the third generation into the company when Charles's sons, Stan, Fred and Tom, each graduated from West Virginia University's College of Business & Economics. The brothers increased the firm to seven stores and then added an aggressive advertising program, up-to-date computer systems and membership in Doit Best. As markets changed, the company continued its evolution. Niche opportunities developed with the addition of a RadioShack franchise and Design Centers to the stores.
In spite of all the growth, the chain-store mentality will never be found at this family-owned operation. To stay competitive, today each store has adapted its own identity to serve the local market. For example, the Summersville and Moorefield stores have been remodeled to reflect an early 20th century atmosphere and evoke a sense of nostalgia for tourists who visit the area.
But even with the constant changes, the brothers agree that there's one thing that has remained the same: their business is based on the fact that they hire good people. While most customers don't know the three brothers, they continually patronize Hardman's because of the caring and knowledgeable staff in the store. And as the company approaches its 100th birthday in 2007, the Hardman brothers agree that's the one thing that will never change.
FOR MORE INFORMATIONHARDMAN'S HARDWARE
Person Interviewed: Donna Ward
Hours: Open Monday thru Friday 7:30am to 5pm. Saturday 7:30am to 4pm. Closed Sunday.
Location: Nicholas County, West Virginia
Address: 1300 Webster Road, Summersville, WV 26651
Phone: 304-872-2821 or 866-872-2821
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