Connors purchase Coast to Coast

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 3/10/99.

coast to coast Brad and Harriette Connor, LeMars, Iowa, recently purchased the Coast to Coast Hardware Store from Dean Hanson, Paynesville.

The couple took over the store as of March 1. For Brad, the purchase means turning his hobby into a career.

"We put a lot of thought into purchasing our own business," Harriette said. They have been tossing the idea around for five years. Last summer when they were at their lake home on Shoemaker Lake, near Hawick, they asked Hanson if the Coast to Coast store was for sale.

Brad was vice president of marketing for Harkers Food Distribution in LeMars and before that he had worked six years as vice president of food service sales with Jennie-O-Foods, Willmar. "I was on the road a lot and only saw my family weekends," Brad said.

"I've had enough of the corporation life and wanted to be my own boss on a smaller scale as well as get back "home" to this area of Minnesota," Brad said. This winter, they attended the hardware store convention to get a feel for what might become a reality, they said.

"We had talked that if we were to purchase the store, March would be a good month to start as it is a slower time of year. It would give us the opportunity to get acquainted with the business before things got too busy," they said.

"It was a big decision giving up a regular paycheck," Brad said. "However, I felt comfortable in hardware stores because of all the work I had done remodeling the different homes we have had. In addition, most of my career has been in sales, I have a comfort level in working with customers."

The couple said one of their goals is to keep the store a viable presence in the Paynesville business district. "We want to work and thrive together with the other businesses," Brad said.

Brad said he knows he can't serve everybody's needs, but will certainly try and hopes by offering fair prices, good products and services, he will meet the public's expectations. "If the store doesn't have something you want, we will try and find it for the customer," Brad added.

Up until now, Harriette has been a homemaker raising their three daughters. With the purchase of the store, she will help with the bookkeeping and whatever else needs to be done, she said. Their two older daughters are in college and the youngest is enrolled in the sixth grade in the New London-Spicer School District.

"Dean has helped us get the feel of things in the store," Brad said. "I have even gone through my first ordering process," he added.

The couple said they are excited to be here and have found the community very friendly. "We have enjoyed meeting the Paynesville area residents and feel a hardware store is vital to the downtown area.

Return to Archives