Hardware Store Builds on Past in Serving Coffeyville Community
6 Jan 2021
As a partner of a hardware store completely renovated just weeks prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Patrick Bride knew he, the other owners and the store’s staff were going to have to react quickly to best serve their customers.
“We are so thankful the community totally embraced us,” he said. “They continue to get us through this, I think because they appreciate we are here putting down roots to fulfill their needs.”
Olson’s Ace Hardware became a reality in Coffeyville, Kansas, when Ben and Beth Ryan purchased an existing hardware store in October 2019 on the current site, expanding their business by the same name in Parsons. They completed a complete renovation by mid-February, not allowing much time to stabilize prior to the pandemic restrictions.
Renovations just prior to COVID-19
Working in the new business environment was made easier by the fact the changes made to the store were rooted in offering what the community needed, said Bride. Renovating the store space allowed them to expand into many different product lines, doubling the plumbing section, while adding additional footage for paint, electrical, lawn & garden and grilling sections.
“It was pretty exciting to see the growth as we took the store down to the concrete and nearly doubled the square footage,” he said.
The store quickly altered its operations in response to the pandemic. Olson’s remained open as an essential business, with employees quickly learning how to manage online ordering, curbside delivery and even home service with a delivery vehicle. They expanded their open business hours and even added staff to ensure they could provide what the community needed, said Bride.
Customers have been overwhelmingly positive, helping business be closer to normal now, with some days better than others. Bride said their location in Coffeyville is excellent, bringing a lot of traffic through their store.
“This is a friendly, outgoing community filled with people who love their city and they come in to see what we have or talk to the employees,” he said. “That makes us want to do what we can for them, making sure we have what they need or getting it in right away.”
Bride said an immense contributor to their success is the excellent staff. There were four employees when the ownership purchased the store, and they all remained with the store when it became Olson’s.
“When they learned we were purchasing the store, the first question nearly every customer had was if those employees would be staying on,” he said. “Customers identify with them, come here to see them and know they will be taken care of.”
Bringing the Olson name was critical too. Charlie Olson owned the Olson Ace Hardware in nearby Parsons since 1969. Ben Ryan is his grandson, and he and his wife Beth purchased the Parsons store from Charlie, who passed away in March. The reputation of Olson’s Ace Hardware in Parsons was impeccable and laid the groundwork for what to expect in Coffeyville, said Bride.
“Charlie was a great representative of the community and meant a lot to everyone here,” he said. “When someone runs a good hardware store the right way, he can be like the mayor of the city and that is what Charlie was like.”
Helping each other
Now, as Coffeyville tries to get back some semblance of normal life, Bride knows Olson’s will continue to lean on the community. He stated the support of the Montgomery County Action Council was critical in helping them attain financing needed for the renovations. And so many local business leaders are supportive, stopping in the store frequently, asking how they can continue to help.
“We know the community is here for us as we strive to provide the best customer service possible,” said Bride. “And that makes it pretty fun for us to continue learning what the customers are looking for!”