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Lehman's Hardware Offers an Electric-Free Way of Life

By Abby Armbruster | Daily Record Published: March 25, 2013 12:00 AM
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KIDRON Through expansions in products and square footage, Lehmans Hardware has been evolving with the trends and newfound items since the retail store opened in 1955. Vice President of Marking Glenda Lehman Ervin said the store is constantly adding products the store feels customers would like.

Because of that attention to detail, Lehmans was named one of OhioTravelers Standouts in Ohio Tourism by OhioTraveler.com. The travel site is one of the most visited Ohio tourism websites, with more than 200 travel videos dedicated to many of the top locations in Ohio.

In all my travels, Ive never experienced such a unique array of offerings under one roof, owner of OhioTraveler.com Frank R. Satullo said. Whether its old-world or cutting edge, a trip here is a trip to Yesteryear.

Ervin said the stores goal is to please every person who comes through the door, whether the person lives in a more off-the-grid lifestyle or in a modern world.

What were trying to do is make it so if you had a 3-year-old niece, or your great-grandma, they would both enjoy the place, Ervin said. We kind of informally say, theres two kinds of people who shop here: The curious and serious. ... Because we have those serious products, we get more curious (customers).

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Although many local customers stop in to grab essentials for an electricity-free way of life, Ervin said she is always proud when residents bring in out-of-towners.

For us, its incredibly heartwarming that people would show us off to their friends and relatives from out of town, she said. I think people kind of like that juxtaposition. ... Making something so old-fashioned fit into a modern lifestyle.

The retail store may be located in Wayne County, but Ervin said the entire stores product line is available online, which is how the store attracts so many customers from around the world.

Theres a lot of opportunity kind of, ironically, online using high-tech to sell low-tech and the reason theres so much opportunity is our customers are from all over the world. Its by demographics, not geographics, Ervin said. Were looking to use technology as it makes sense for a business.

In the retail store, Satullo said there is no better way to rub shoulders with the Amish community and take in the 45,000-square-foot store.

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One of the more recent additions to the store is its Soda Pop Shoppe with more than 300 kinds of soda in glass bottles, including bacon-flavored soda and 70 varieties of root beer alone.

Satullo said he was impressed by the mix of the products and the museum-type feel, as the stores walls are filled to the roof with antique versions of wood-burning ovens and pre-Civil War era structures, including the first cabin built in Wayne County.

Just the uniqueness of their product lines is like nothing else Ive seen in one place, Satullo said. You see stuff that youre not going to see in your traditional stores today. ... So many stores are cookie-cutter ... where as Lehmans, its so diverse, deep and its just the expanse of the place that itll make you take a step back.

Ervin said the wide range of novelty products are what makes the business successful.

We keep trying to do what we do, but just tweak it a little bit, Ervin said. Were not everywhere, were not the cheapest, but we have something else, and its something else that is very near and dear to us.

I would say check it out because you wont check out another place like it, Satullo said.

This is the first time Lehmans has received the Standouts in Ohio Tourism award.

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