Dealer Profiles

Family Fuels Chown Hardware Success

F.R. Chown opened the first Chown Hardware store near the Portland riverfront in 1879.
F.R. Chown opened the first Chown Hardware store near the Portland riverfront in 1879.»

On September 13, Chown Hardware celebrated the 140th milestone of its family business with a block party in the Pearl District thanking the neighborhood that has kept it thriving since 1879. Chown Hardware is a member of The Hardware Connection Century Club.

As Chown Hardware marks that impressive milestone, it might be easy to assume there’s a tendency to maintain a business-as-usual mindset. That, however, has never been the case for the business, which is now moving into its fifth generation of family leadership. Instead, Chown Hardware has been able to maintain its status as of a mainstay of Portland—and a leader in the world of decorative hardware—through a willingness to carefully track market conditions and trends, and then make a move when the time is right, writes Stephanie Basalyga for the Portland Tribune.

Chown Hardware held a block party to celebrate the company’s 140th anniversary.
Chown Hardware held a block party to celebrate the company’s 140th anniversary.»

It’s a tradition that David Chown, who has run the company with his brother for the past 20 years, says isn’t likely to change as his son, Nathanael, and his nephew, Kyle, pick up increasingly more significant leadership roles in the company’s operations.

F.R. Chown opened the family’s first hardware store in Portland in 1879. According to family legend, he purchased his first inventory with $5,000 in gold that he kept in a money belt and chose a location near the river to be close to the ships that delivered the tools, cutlery and tinware the store sold.

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