In early 2014, Kelly and Tammy Wentzel were looking for a location to start a hardware store. Kelly, a stock broker and financial advisor wanted a business opportunity that would involve the whole family including two of his sons, Matt and Joe.
“Choosing a True Value hardware store was not by accident,” stated Mr. Wentzel, “when I was a kid my father owned a True Value hardware store in Northwest Iowa and eventually he owned up to five stores. My dad’s been in the hardware business for 55 years and it was a huge part of my growing up. He would take me on store visits and took me to hardware shows and conventions. I was a hardware guy until I went to college.”
After 28 years as a stock broker, Kelly wanted to bring his sons into a business with him and a True Value partnership just seemed to make sense.
“We were looking for a location around the Des Moines metropolitan area and a True Value representative mentioned the abandoned grocery store in Carlisle,” added Mr. Wentzel. “When Tammy and I pulled into the parking lot to visit the property, Andy Lent happened to stop by and asked if we were interested. We slow-played our hand, but we were very interested.”
As part of the Wentzel’s due diligence, True Value did a feasibility study in Carlisle. Based on the, population, growth and competitive factors, True Value concluded that Carlisle would be a great place for a hardware store.
“As we made plans to move forward, we attended meetings with Ruth, Andy and Hollie who were excellent to work with,” Mr. Wentzel continues, “they were very supportive and helped streamline the process of opening a business in Carlisle.
“Starting with an empty building is a totally different experience than buying an existing hardware store. We gutted the inside of the building and remodeled everything. True Value was a great asset as they measured the interior space and designed a store layout and planogram, indicating the location of all the shelving and where every product, thousands of SKUs, would be displayed. The advantage of the new store is that we stocked every item on every shelf, making us more involved with the products and giving us a greater sense of accomplishment and ownership. On the other hand, the amount of time and work required to get the store ready was more than we anticipated, but it will be worth it.
“There weren’t too many hiccups along the way, other than when we were unloading semi-trailers, we noticed a broken bag of dog food in one of the trailers. We unloaded thee quarters of the trailer and shut it up for the weekend. Monday morning when we returned to finish we found more spilled dog food and two raccoons, stowaways from Kansas City, staring at us from the top of pallets inside the trailer. We called animal control to help relocate them to their new home somewhere in Warren County.
“The residents of Carlisle and northern Warren County will be impressed with the selection and value we’ll have at our store. True Value provides us with amazing buying power. With approximately 4,500 locations, there are more True Value stores than the three big box home improvement stores combined, which makes us very competitive.
“In addition, True Value has their own paint factory in northern Illinois that produces excellent quality paint. They supply our paint in a huge variety of finishes and colors.”
Carlisle True Value plans to open on Monday, February 2nd. Store hours will be:
Monday – Friday: 7:30 to 7:00
Saturday: 8:00 to 5:30
Sunday: 10:00 to 4:00
Mr. Wentzel concludes, ”We’ll hold our grand opening on April 10th and we’ll give away prizes such as new grill and power equipment. We’ll even have an executive from True Value on hand to answer questions. Matt, Joe and I will be working full time. Stop in and say ‘hi’, we look forward to serving you!”