Hartville Hardware | Saving Our Economy | The 3/50 Project

In the case of Hartville Hardware, locally owned and operated doesn’t mean “small” business.. They have over 60,000 items in stock, more than the big-box stores, which carry around 40,000.

In the case of Hartville Hardware, locally owned and operated doesn’t mean “small” business. “We have over 60,000 items in stock, more than the big-box stores. They carry around 40,000,” said Bob Testa, marketing coordinator for the Miller family business. “The funny thing is a lot of (big chain stores) refer customers to us. People come in and say, ‘Home Depot said you have this item.’ ”

busi_detail_hartvilleDespite its size, Hartville Hardware operates like a mom-and-pop shop.

“Our main thing is service. We have a lot more associates throughout the aisles, and all our associates are longtime employees. I think the average is over 10 years,” Testa said. Customers quickly realize they can get expert advice here.

“We have ex-plumbers and carpenters and electricians that work in our departments,” Testa said. “They’re not just coming in and buying nuts and bolts, but to learn how to install it, how to fix what’s broken.”

And the person waiting on you might be one of the owners.

“Our owners work the store, right on the floor,” Testa said. Hartville Hardware was included in the 2009 book “Retail Superstars: Inside the 25 Best Independent Stores in America” by George Whalin.

“And one other thing — the community involvement is unbelievable. You name it, we support it,” Testa said. “All these things play into why people feel comfortable when they come here.”


940 W. Maple St., Hartville
(330) 877-3631

Established: 1972
Owner: Howard R. Miller Jr., Wayne Miller, and families
Hours: 8 a.m.-8 p.m. weekdays; 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday

The 3/50 ProjectIt’s not much to ask: Spend $50 a month at locally owned, brick-and-mortar stores in your community. That’s the goal of the national grassroots movement “The 3/50 Project.” When its Web site was launched last year, it released a wellspring of interest, garnering 7,500 unique visitors in the first week.

It’s a simple directive. Every month, make a point of visiting at least three independently owned businesses, for instance, a restaurant, jewelry shop, furniture store or ice cream stand. Spend a total of $50 among them.

The result? For every $100 spent locally, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures.

In the stories that follow, you’ll meet six local business owners who have joined The 3/50 Project. For a list of participating businesses in Ohio, visit www.the350project.net and click on “Our Supporters.”

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