Hardware Retailing

SEP 2017

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | September 2017 62 During this time, she has also taken an active role in helping other retailers succeed, working with shop-local organizations, serving on her co-op's marketing advisory group, and in one of her most prominent roles, as chairman of the board of directors for the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA). "I love this industry, and I am so blessed to have made my career in it," Menzer says. "I think NRHA is such a great representation of the industry as a whole, because it's about retailers helping one another. It's not about True Value or Orgill or Ace or Do it Best. It's about all of us being independent small business owners and learning from each other to make our operations and communities stronger." The editors at Hardware Retailing recently had the opportunity to sit down with Menzer and learn a little about her history, her business and her thoughts on the future of independent home improvement retailing. A Focus on Family Since the business was founded in 1924 by Menzer's great-grandparents, Grace and Earl Newton, the operation has been a family affair. Eventually, Grace and Earl passed the business down to their daughter Nellie, who worked in the business with her husband, Albert. During these early years, Newton's True Value was primarily focused on plumbing, electrical and heating supplies. It wasn't until 1976, when Menzer's father, Joe Long, entered the business, that hardware began to take a more prominent role in the store's offering. Like most small business owners, running Newton's True Value was always a family affair. Both Joe and his wife Barbara are still active in the business and, in addition to Megan, both her sisters, Cari and Tessie, worked the aisles of Newton's at some point. But Joe always knew that Menzer had a particular passion for the operation. "Megan just loved being part of Newton's," Joe says. "Her sisters aren't involved today, but Megan just took to it, and she's really a natural. Whenever she's in the store, she has customers running up to her and giving her hugs." Even during her early years at the store, Menzer says she has nothing but fond memories of working with both her immediate family and her extended family, which included employees and customers. "The employees were just always so kind to us," she says. "I remember Gary Simpson, who had worked at the store for a long time, and how he would put up with us three girls running around. I even remember locking him in the paint room one day and thinking it was so funny. He didn't find it quite as funny, but he took it all in stride. It was like a big family." Menzer also says she cherishes the opportunity she had to work with her grandmother, Nellie. "My grandmother and I would work together on the bookkeeping. We would spread everything out on the dining room table, and I would help organize things for the invoices, and then I would get to lick all the envelopes," she says. Left: Though her husband, Jeff Menzer, isn't involved in the day-to-day operations at Newton's True Value, Megan Menzer says his support for her and the business has been a big part of their overall success. Above: Megan Menzer credits her father, Joe Long, as one of the key influences in her retail development.

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