Century of community support keeps the doors open at small Waterville business
Waterville Hardware and Paint has withstood competition from big box stores and online retailers.
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Northwest Ohio is full of locally-owned businesses, which garner a lot of local support.
Waterville Hardware and Paint is a great example of what that support can do. The store has been a part of the local landscape for more than a century. It’s survived all kinds of competition in that time frame, and there’s a reason for that. “One of the keys with a small business is to have good customer service,” store owner John Knollman said.
Knollman and his wife Marcia have owned the store since 1979. “We love the satisfaction of helping somebody. It’s not just a job, it’s part of your life,” John said.
He added that the store has been a part of life for the entire family. “Being self-employed was a big thing for us. We could bring our kids to work instead of sending them to daycare. It got to be a whole family thing. Now our kids are grown up and our grandkids show up once in a while.”
There have been a lot of challenges through the years, from big box stores to online shopping. But John said a lot of people like the convenience of a small-town store and they still want to see things in person before making a purchase.
“You want to pick something up, look at it, feel it. People also like to read the back of the package to see if it’s the right thing. Those are all things we can deliver.”
The focus here is also keeping prices low. John said the store is relatively competitive when it comes to pricing.
“Sometimes the bigger stores blow us away with special offers, but most of the time, we’re able to have great prices,” he said.
Stephanie Soldner, of Waterville, said she loves shopping small.
“Besides it being super convenient, I am a local business owner myself. I appreciate people coming to support me and I try to return the favor as well,” Soldner said.
Customer service is certainly a big selling point for customer Steven Magers.
“The entire staff here is very knowledgeable, and John is always here to answer any of your questions. They have clearly done the projects themselves at some point or another. It is a very nice service you don’t find everywhere,” Magers said.
John’s goal is to make sure the store is part of Waterville for another century.
“You’ve got gas stations, restaurants, other shops, and stores here. It all makes up our community. Without all those pieces and parts, it’s not a hometown,” he said.
See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Please include the title when you click here to report it.
Copyright 2022 WTVG. All rights reserved.