Stories from Downtown - Holden Hardware
Retail businesses downtown rise to the challenge of COVID-19. During these past weeks of closings and community concerns, we have all taken a renewed interest in our small business friends and neighbors.
Known for superior customer service, small businesses have had to rethink the very expertise that made them stand out in the past. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a challenge for many small business owners as they were forced to shutter their doors for the sake of public health, change their hours and operations, and see a decline in customers shopping for their products.
The multi-generational businesses downtown give our historic community quite the patchwork of stories and experiences that help weather any storm.
Holden Hardware is one of those family owned businesses that has stayed true to its beginnings through the generations. Rollie Holden is the son of Rollie and Katherine Holden and is no stranger to changing times downtown. After his parents married, they opened Holden Hardware on January 30, 1948, in a building Rollie’s grandmother owned on the square. With years of experience on the square, the Holdens were prepared for the stiff competition that would come with new hardware stores nearby.
Holden shared, “While I will never know all the challenges they faced, I believe what helped them succeed was their ability to use their separate sets of talents and abilities together.” He recalled growing up on the square when most of downtown was retail businesses. On the payroll, since the age of 14, Holden purchased the hardware store January 1, 1996. Over the past 24 years, he believes the biggest challenge to having a successful small business downtown is the need to enforce short-term, high turnover parking spaces for customers.
Listed as an “essential” business, Holden Hardware has remained open during the shutdown. “It is sad to walk and drive by the closed shops. I miss seeing my downtown business neighbors.” When asked what he would say to the community Holden stated, “While it is up to each of us as small businesses to have the products or services that will attract customers, it is up to the consumers to decide which businesses to support.” He also attributes his age, experience, and ability to keep things in perspective as helping him during this unusual time.
With the warmer spring weather and a gradual lifting of stay-at-home recommendations, we know you all are focusing on to do lists for houses and yards. Main Street challenges you to think “Downtown” and specifically Holden Hardware when you think about driving to buy that tool or item you need for this Saturday’s project.
Holden will be glad to find it for you. Holden Hardware is located at 108 South Maple Street. Call if you have any questions 615-893-1122. Rollie will be happy to help you.