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Hardware owners: Happy, helpful and full of life
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By Carol McIntire
If it’s a tiny not-often found part for a sink, dryer or even a new screen for a window, you’re looking for, you’ll find it and much more, at Dellroy Hardware!
Brothers Greg and Jon Young and Jon’s wife, Doe are the owners of the 5 E. Main St., Dellroy, business where they are enjoying their second career in life.
Greg, the more vocal of the two brothers and one who loves to share stories, spent 26 years teaching kindergarten, first grade and fifth grade science in Pennsylvania before retiring in 2011. Jon was a civil engineer for American Bridge in Pittsburgh for 48 years before retiring in 2015 with 48 years of service. Doe held a variety of positions in different fields and raised six children: the couple’s natural son and five adopted children. They lived about 20 minutes apart in Pennsylvania.
All three proudly admit being “almost 70” or slightly over in age and smile when explaining how two brothers who spent their first careers in Pittsburgh would end up in the small village of Dellroy.
“We grew up in the Dover-New Philadelphia area and we came out here to vacation at Atwood Lake,” Jon explained. “Mom and dad said when they retired, they were going to move out here. They purchased a house on Pine Hill.”
That conversation led to another question, “how did both of you end up here?
Jon continued the conversation.
“The house next door to them was scheduled to be sold at auction,” Jon said, continuing the conversation. “Mom was worried about who their new neighbors were going to be. Dad went to the sale. When he came home, mom asked him who the new neighbors were going to be. His reply was, you are our new neighbors.”
Their father died in 2005 which set the wheels in motion for the two sons to relocate to the area.
Jon and Doe relocated to Dellroy in 2001 (easy for them to remember because of 9-11) and began acquainting themselves with the area. Doe visited the Dellroy Hardware where she met Roberta Rothert (now deceased), owner of Dellroy Hardware.
“She was a notary and I often had to notarize papers relating to the adoptions,” Doe said. “I told her when she was ready to sell the hardware to let me know,” Doe related. “I told her Jon was going to retire and I didn’t want him home with me all day!”
Her remarks drew a nod of the head from Jon and a deep laugh from Greg.
“Yep, that’s right,” Jon said.
The purchase was made in 2010, the same year Greg retired from teaching. Greg, Doe and Jon and Doe’s daughter, “Ducky” were in charge of the store while Jon continued to commute to Pittsburgh to work.
With little to no knowledge of running a hardware, but with tons of experience at fixing things they learned from their father, the Youngs embarked on a journey to restock the store and attract new customers.
“We were kind of lost at first,” Jon said. “We had no idea how much stock to order…then the oil and gas boom hit and business started to pick up.”
One of the first orders of business was to turn a bird house into a jelly bean feeder which customers and family alike enjoyed.
“It’s been fun!” Greg exclaimed, his infectious laugh filling the room. As for the brothers working together, the two simultaneously stated about the other, “he’s a pain in the #ss!” which brought another round of laughter from the trio.
Greg breaks into the conversation to ask if he’s ever told the story of how he wore all black to school every day during contract negotiations and then, the day the contract was signed, changed into very brightly-colored clothes.
“It didn’t take them long to figure that out” he said.
His infectious laugh and stories have become favorites of customers who have become family friends over the last 12 years.
Today the shelves, walls, bins and check-out counter are filled with just about everything a homeowner would need for the inside and outside of home. A doorbell, which signals the arrival of customers, rings on a frequent basis as customers file in looking for everything from specialty items and deck screws to sink drains. Parts, paint, screen, glass, bulk nails and screws aren’t the only things offered at the old-time hardware, they even provided ideas to a customer as to where he might be able to rent a garage in the area.
The trio is proud to say they are only the sixth owners of the hardware, which dates back to 1896. Jon got up from his chair, walked to the back room and returned with a picture of Mrs. Magee, the original owner.
As a testament to their sense of humor, when asked for the first name of Mrs. Magee, the reply was simple, “Mrs.” Again, laugher erupted.
Watching the brothers interact with customers makes it easy to understand how they have built the business over the last few years.
“For us, it’s about taking care of our customers. We know things don’t always break between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. so we have an emergency (phone) number customers can call if the store is closed. That’s what makes us different from the big box stores,” Jon noted. “We have the experience to offer suggestions and point people in the right direction if we can’t help them. They are thankful for the assistance.”
As for what the future holds for the Young families, Greg says health issues have cropped up for him in the last few years, but he continues to enjoy working in the store.
“It’s fun,” he said. “You can’t sit around doing nothing.”
Jon nodded his head and said they plan to operate the store until health issues tell them otherwise.
“It is fun to operate the store, but there’s also a lot of work involved,” he chipped in. “Our health will tell us when it’s time to quit.”
Dellroy Hardware is open Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The store can be reached by calling 330-735-2440.
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