Heather Love stocks the fishing isle in the new Soldotna Trustworthy Hardware and Fishing Store. The expanded facility will open on Tuesday.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Soldotna Trustworthy Hardware owner Paul Miller remembers when he told his wife, Sherril, he wanted to move his store into a larger building.
She put her hand on the counter, he recalled, and said, "You can't move the store. It's become an icon."
But Paul Miller said it was time to move.
Tuesday will usher in a new era for this family run business as they celebrate the grand opening of their new building at 44648 Sterling Highway in Soldotna.
Doors open at 10 a.m. It is the same business, mostly the same faces behind the counter with a few new ones, and a new building with the same hometown feel.
"This is a big hurrah cap off of a stellar career," store manager Scott Miller said of his father, Paul.
Brian Miller, also a store manager and Paul's son, said a bigger space was needed to deal with large volumes of business. The first year the family ran the business 20 years ago, they had $700,000 in sales and 10 employees. Since that time, the business has grown significantly and employs nearly 40 people, he said.
"It was just too small," Brian said. "We're looking to improve the quality of service to the citizens of Soldotna."
Scott, who started working for his dad as a box boy, sweeping the floors and cleaning toilets from the start, originally wanted to be a broker, he said. However, family and community drew him back home, and he has been happily working in the family business since, he said.
"Just being a part of this is pretty incredible," Scott said. "There's nothing quite like working in a family business."
Brian, who also worked for his father as a child, returned to work at the store 14 years ago. He said he has enjoyed it, as well.
The brothers also enjoyed helping design the new building.
When designing it, Scott said they put in wood floors to maintain the right feel. And Brian is excited about the potbelly stove that will sit in the window with some chairs in front of it.
The store was buzzing Monday as employees, young and old, milled around stocking shelves, unloading boxes and snacking on pizza and pop to replenish their energy reserves.
While the workers are busy inside, two carved wooden bears stand watch outside the store ready to welcome the community and tourists as they enter Trustworthy Hardware's new digs.
"The amount of community involvement in this thing is incredible," Brian said. "Everybody's just really happy for us."
For example, all of the cabinets are custom made by a cabinetmaker from Sterling.
Scott said they took a lot of input from customers as the store was designed.
During the first few weeks the store is open, there will be a number of door prizes, plus the grand prize of a four-wheeler.
People have been calling and dropping by to express their support and excitement for the new store, Brian said.
"It's a monumental effort."
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