ADRIAN -- With some boxes of merchandise yet to unpack, Curt and Laura Ramerth, with help from with family members and friends, continue to get everything into place inside the new Adrian Hardware location on Maine Avenue.
Now located in a former convenience store with nearby access to both Nobles County 35 and Interstate 90, the business nearly nearly doubled in space with the three-block move.
"We've already added about 3,500 items as we set the store," Curt Ramerth said late last week as shoppers kept store employees busy.
Considerable work was done to the building in preparation for the move, including removal of a couple walls, taking out the coolers, adding floor decking, expanding the ceiling and adding new walls, Curt said. He, along with two sons and one of their friends, did much of the renovation themselves.
The plumbing department was expanded from 20 feet in the old location to 56 feet, with a full line of plumbing repair items, faucets, handles, hoses and fittings; while the electrical area has also increased, from 16 feet to 56 feet.
"We expanded the wire selection," said Curt. "We now have four types of wire and selected lengths were expanded."
Electrical repair merchandise and light bulb selections also were expanded.
In the builders section of the store, there is now a large array of nuts, bolts, gizmos and gadgets for home repair in an area that's more than three times the size of the department in the old store. There is also a large selection of paints, stains and paint supplies.
In addition to the basic hardware items, Adrian Hardware also has a selection of gift items, from cards and photo frames to Yankee candles, Willow Tree angels and other home décor. There are also seasonal items, housewares and live Christmas trees available for purchase.
The Ramerths purchased Adrian Hardware from the Wilmont-Adrian Cooperative in early April. Curt was a location manager for the co-op, working with the agronomy and sales division at the Lismore and Fulda locations. He had been looking to get into the hardware business for a while -- his brother owns the hardware store in Fulda.
"We looked at this building about a year ago," added Laura.
The hardware business was for sale in Adrian, but the cooperative wanted to keep the building.
"Our first feeling was that Adrian's a good place, a good town, but we need to offer them more choices," said Curt.
By purchasing the larger location, The Ramerths could start fresh and expand to meet the needs of their customers.
Two part-time employees were retained in the move, bringing a wealth of knowledge with them to aid the Ramerths.
Norma Carlberg has been employed in the hardware store in the community for more than 35 years; while her daughter-in-law, Joni Carlberg, has worked at the hardware store for about five years.
Both have been busy helping to set up items in the new store.
Additional part-time employees include Chelsey Preuss and Jennifer Reker.
The Ramerths also get a lot of help from Gene Owens, a retired construction worker who volunteers his time at the business.
"Gene has been a big asset to Laura and me," said Curt.
"Our kids and our families have been very helpful," added Laura. "It takes a lot of hands to get everything on the shelf."
While Curt has transitioned fully to his new job as store owner, Laura continues to work part-time at the Maple Lawn Nursing Home in Fulda. They reside near Fulda.
Adrian Hardware is open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.