(8/14 note: To check whether a business is still a current WSB sponsor, please go here)
(Junction True Value owner Bruce Davis and, showing off 60th-anniversary T-shirt at right, 4th-generation family member working at the store, daughter Ahna Davis)
How does an independent, family-owned hardware store last for 60 years?
“A great location and great customers” are a big part of the answer, according to Bruce Davis, owner of Junction True Value, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a big sale all this week, culminating in a celebration to which you’re invited this weekend.
(We’re also pleased to welcome Junction True Value as a new WSB sponsor in honor of the occasion!)
Bruce Davis is the third generation of Junction True Value ownership. His grandfather Henry Bergquist bought the store in 1953, and sold it to Davis’s parents, John and Norma Davis. “He didn’t want to get into the business as much as he wanted to give his daughter and son-in-law something to grow into,” Davis says.
Junction True Value hasn’t always been at its current 44th/Edmunds site. It had two locations on California SW, first where Elliott Bay Brewing is now (which had been a hardware store even before that, as revealed in this WSB story), and then, around the time of the 1962 World’s Fair, moved to where Northwest Art and Frame is now. Davis remembers helping move the store across the street with a hand truck when he was 10 years old; he said he was already helping out at the store back then, with tasks such as inventory. The store was there until its current building was built in 1976, about two years after Davis first started working there fulltime. He says he’s been in charge since his dad had a stroke in 1983, but his parents remained owners “until they both passed on – with a lot of veto power.”
The name has changed from its original Junction Hardware; Davis’s parents originally joined a co-op called Hometown Hardware, bought by True Value in 1969. True Value also is a cooperative, Davis explains – “a really great system for smaller stores, (with) buying power and marketing power.” The store Rewards Program will save you money, too.
Funny thing about hardware stores – Davis says they’ve had their naysayers for a long time, with people insisting first they’d be taken out by discounters, then big-box stores, “each time, they said we’re going to be toast – but we’ve kept growing, still growing and thriving, doing better than ever – doing very well.” In no small part, certainly, because Junction True Value has kept evolving; if you think a hardware store is low-tech, consider that the store has had a computer system for 30 years! Davis analyzes store data to find out what’s gaining popularity and what’s not so popular (gardening, paints, and housewares are hot, for example) – although the human touch will never go out of style, from his late mom’s ideas for the gift department, to current staffers who “are very creative in their decorating and merchandising. It’s fun!”
He also enjoys working with the people who walk through the door each day, to shop and spend and visit: “Our customers love us and we love them. We do our best not to disappoint them.”
And so, you, Junction True Value‘s beloved customer, are invited to join the anniversary celebration. All week long, a sale is under way, including daily merchandise and gift-card drawings. Then on Saturday, the actual 60th anniversary of the store’s August 10th, 1953, opening, the party gets BIG – as also detailed on the store’s website – hourly drawings, free face painting, free balloons, free popcorn – and from 10 am-3 pm, hot dogs and pop at ’60s prices with the West Seattle Lions Club helping out! (Sunday, the drawings will continue, along with free popcorn and free balloons.)
As Bruce Davis says: “It’s really just appreciation of the customers – we want to say thanks.”