Proudly serving the community for 134 years and counting
Seaman's Hardware is Genesee County's oldest family owned business. I spent some time yesterday just browsing through the store and reliving my past. I remembered the many times I went with my Dad to the local Hardware store when I was little. I’d wander the isles just looking at all the things on the shelves and wondering what I could build with them. My Dad is a pretty handy guy, he did everything at home himself. He built a house, barns and sheds. He did plumbing, electric, roofing and mason work. I learned a lot from him, mainly that I prefer to write a check when my house needs repair. (I never was as good at it as he was).
I spoke with Jim Seaman about the history of the Hardware store. He said he is fourth or fifth generation. The reason for this is he can’t find any receipts from Charles. He has the paper trail for Ezra, Web, Gail and himself. Since he doesn’t have any paper evidence of Charles and the sales from the wagon he considers it a fourth generation business. What an enormous accomplishment to keep a family business a float for 134 years. Surviving the Great Depression and who knows how many recessions. Keeping a business in the family through two World Wars and numerous other ones. Just being able to operate any business in this State is remarkable. To keep one this long and under the same name is astonishing. While I was there customers came in one after the other. After every sale Jim came from behind the counter and asked every one how could he help them. Every person was given the same personal attention and guidance towards what they needed. As I walked around and looked at every shelf I was amazed about the shear variety of items they had. Everything from power tools to P-traps to canning pots to ping-pong balls. With my son being a new Scout I picked him up a compass and a pocket knife (he starts working on his whittling badge this week). Even though the store may not appear very large, they seemed to have anything you would expect at real Hardware store. Through the years he has changed thigs only when his customers wanted it. After all, you don't mess with something that works. Over the years he has added outdoor equipment and tool rentals, maybe a few other things. But he has always stayed true to the old time true Hardware store. If you need it, he's probably got it.
I asked Jim what his theory on success is, and what has lead his business to such a long history in our County. He said his key has been, find out what customers want and make sure you always have it. He continued, offer them more than just a product at a reasonable price. Make sure you give them service and stand behind it. While I was there a gentleman came in for a special light bulb that he happened to be out of stock on. Instead of saying “I’m out of them” he said “I’ll have one for you tomorrow”. He’s right. That’s the difference between selling to a community and serving one. I encourage everyone to stop in and see Jim the next time you’re on Route 5 in East Pembroke. It’s a great place and the biggest example of why it’s good to shop local. You’ll never get Jim’s kind of service at a box store. They're located at 2602 Main St in E. Pembroke. Ph# 762-9211.
I received a bunch of e-mails about businesses around the County. I can use a buch more! If you know a business that's been here a long time, let me know and I'll feature them. Send e-mail to: [email protected] Thanks!