The husband-and-wife team that owns and operates the new Riverside True Value Hardware store in Middletown, Pa., have a combined 27 years of experience in the retail hardware business.
Actually it’s 34 years, if you count from when Lisa Bubb was 10 years old following around her father in the hardware store he co-owned in Lemoyne, before Bubb started officially working in the store at age 17, writes Dan Miller in the Press & Journal.
Ryan and Lisa Bubb met each other through the hardware business, as Ryan started working for Lisa’s dad, John Hepfer, when he was in high school.
The Bubbs, who live in Duncannon with their 7-month old son Larson—named after Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich—opened for business on January 2, with a grand opening to be held in the spring.
Their space in Westporte Centre on West Main Street was last occupied by Dollar Express, which closed in June 2017.
The hardware store carries the True Value name but it is not a franchise arrangement, according to Ryan. “We have the ability to use their name as long as we purchase a certain amount of inventory every year,” he said.
The store is also what Bubb called a “Destination True Value store,” modeled in design, decor and color scheme after True Value’s model store program. True Value also supports the store with merchandising and advertising. Otherwise, the store is independently owned and operated by the Bubbs, he said.
Ryan Bubb, 30, has worked for True Value in one capacity or another for the last 13 years. He intended to go to college after working at Hepfer’s True Value store in Duncannon, but “kind of got hooked on hardware and never looked back.”
Hepfer had a few True Value stores in Duncannon and Bubb managed the stores for six or seven years, before getting a job with True Value as a project manager at the corporate level.
“I just traveled all over the country doing this,” he said. “I’d set up a store, get them going and then I’d leave and do another one.”
Lisa, 31, said her father has owned hardware stores for almost 50 years. She and Ryan both enjoy the experience of taking care of customers.
An independent small-town hardware store means “we are expected to be experts on the products we sell,” Ryan said. “We’ve owned our own home for five years now. Most of the products in the store I’ve used and know how to use. I get enjoyment out of helping somebody else who might not know how to use something and teaching them how to do it and making sure they get the right thing. I don’t care if you buy the most expensive can of paint. I want you to get the right can of paint.”
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