By Chris Jensen
At the urging of Co-owner Shanna West, the community of Marion, Ky., came out to show support for shopping local at H & H Home and Hardware.»
It takes about 30 seconds of being around Shanna West to come to the conclusion that she is a people person. She is a ball of energy as she pivots from directing an employee to helping a customer, each task completed with infectious enthusiasm. Who said shopping at a hardware store can’t be fun?
Shanna’s initial career path took her in a different direction, but she has found her calling as a hardware retailer. The biggest beneficiaries of this transformative switch are the lucky residents of Marion, Ky., who get to shop at a warm and friendly store, H & H Home and Hardware, operated by the Queen of Fun.
Transforming the Business
Shanna and David West are seeking to build a generational business that can be passed on to the third generation.
Shanna’s evolution as a retailer parallels the dramatic transformation that has happened to H & H Home and Hardware, a Do it Best member. The business was started in 2000 by Shanna’s parents, Stacy and Alan Hunt, along with another couple, Phillis and Victor Hardin. Initially named H & H Supply, it was mainly a plumbing supply store crammed into 2,700 square feet of space.
“My dad had worked previously with Phillis at a plumbing supply store, and he had a wealth of knowledge about plumbing,” Shanna explains. “He knew the old store was not conducive to foot traffic. It was just an office and a warehouse with no heating or cooling.”
While H &H Supply enjoyed modest success as her dad took care of the community’s plumbing needs, Shanna’s early career was spent as a professional trainer. Fast forward to 2016. Shanna was looking for something that offered more flexible family time. Phillis, whose husband Victor had passed away in 2012, was looking to retire and her kids didn’t want to be involved in the business. So, Alan made a logical decision to hire Shanna to take over Phillis’ role in accounting.
The former Shopko building has been transformed into a 14,000-square-foot destination for hardware and home improvement products.
There was only one problem with that plan: Shanna never made it to the back office to do any accounting work. “I started helping plumbers and electricians with parts and pieces, and I found I loved the business,” she says. “I never did any office work. Phillis ended up staying a little longer, and we eventually found someone else to handle the accounting.”
While we will never know if Shanna might have transformed the accounting world with her fun ideas, we do know she has made a huge difference from her roving position on the sales floor. “I came in with all kinds of crazy ideas, and people just went along with it,” she says.
Shanna had found her passion in mastering the product mix and quickly identified strategic opportunities to grow the business. Her husband, David West, worked in construction, which made him well qualified to be a sounding board for Shanna’s creative ideas for the business.
Within two years, she and David became co-owners alongside Shanna’s parents, ushering in a new era of growth and creative community engagement. What Shanna needed was a bigger canvas to work on, so to speak. It was time to give Marion (population 3,039) something to brag about.
Alan was looking for buying power, which led him to seek help from Do it Best. Marion had a vacant Shopko store. A tire store filled the half the space, which left 14,000 square feet of retail space for H & H to expand into a full-blown hardware store. The dramatic expansion happened in 2019, and H & H Home and Hardware was born.
“Everyone told us we couldn’t open by March 1 and we did,” Shanna points out. “David quit his job and set up all the shelving. We were off and running.”
Continue Reading this Article in the April Issue