Jan. 15, 2007

Boger's True Value Hardware to get new name, and new owner, manager

By Linda Scherer
Staff Writer

Boger’s True Value Hardware store on Main Avenue West in Winsted will be renamed the Winsted Hardware Store beginning Monday, Feb. 5.

The new name is part of a transfer of business ownership and management that will be taking place at the same location as the current business.

Greg Gehrman, the new owner, and Katy Born, the new manager, both live in northeast Minneapolis and both are graduates of Wayzata High School, where they originally met.

Gehrman’s name is not unfamiliar to the Winsted area. He is co-owner of the hardware store building and also purchased the old creamery building located on 2nd St. S. and McLeod Avenue.

He has been busy making renovations to the hardware store building this past year and has been very focused on the building’s transformation.

“Not just building in general – this building. I wanted to have the time to do the things I need to do to complete this building and there are still a lot of things that have to be done. When Paul became serious about finding a buyer, or just to close up shop, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do without a hardware store here,” Gehrman said.

That’s when Born came into the picture. She had been to the Winsted store a few times, was impressed with the town, and liked the small town look of Main Street.

It was Born’s willingness to help, and her positive attitude about the undertaking, which allowed Gehrman to consider the purchase of the store.

He also has 10 years of renovating experience with a very good idea of what kind of tools and hardware gets used, and their value.

“We had talked about it a few different times. We kicked it around. I don’t have any hardware experience, but I have always been in retail. I’ve managed stores, done buying, sales, and customer service. This sounded like something fun and something I would definitely like to do,” Born said.

The store will have a totally new look – from its pressed-tin ceilings, wood floors, and Tiffany lamps, to the variety of items that will now be available. Many of the changes have already taken place.

The floor plan will undergo a major change, with the cashier’s counter being moved from the front of the store to the center. They are also looking for glass display counters for more expensive items.

Two entrances to the front of the store will be completed sometime in the future, one for the hardware store and one for Boger’s realty business.

The hardware store merchandise is to be expanded, adding more variety. They will be rebuilding stock levels, as well.

What’s available?

Paint and painting supplies, a complete plumbing section, and an electrical section will be available.

“The things that you run to the hardware store to get because you are doing a household project,” Gehrman said.

The store has purchased a new copier that is heavy enough to take different stock, including colored paper. In addition, office supplies will be sold, like tablets, writing journals, graph paper, tracing paper, rulers, and mechanical pencils.

Born is excited about the garden store, with a patio area to be ready sometime this spring offering annuals, potted plants, seeds, potting soil, and decorative iron garden pieces.

“I have always been interested in gardening. It is a passion for me. I have a green thumb with plants. We don’t have the prep time right now, but in the next year, I would like to see a variety of bulbs, possibly starting in November,” Born said.

The garden store, which will have its own entrance on the west, back side of the building, will carry decorative iron items like fencing, harness hooks, trellises, benches, planters, and iron tables and chairs. They would also like to see other items like concrete bird baths and statuary be part of the garden store, too.

“We want to look into historic seeds and organic types of plants,” Gehrman said. “Plants that have evolved, with all of the hybrids that have been created as we design seeds to adapt to our climate, might have lost some of the characteristics of the old plant. An example would be the watermelon that is now seedless and has different properties for size. Maybe, before, it had seeds, but it also had great flavor,” Gehrman said.

Gehrman is also interested in using all of the equipment that has been stored in the basement over the years, including equipment to cut glass, glazing, pipe threading, and chain saw sharpening.

He is thinking about asking a few of the previous employees of Keating hardware (the original Winsted hardware store) from the ‘50s and ‘60s who know how to use the equipment, to come back and work a couple of hours a week to provide a service to the area.

Occasionally, on Saturdays, the store will have an open house during which the coffee pot will be on, there will free hot dogs, and occasional Saturday sales. With the event, they are hoping people will come in, look around, and stay and visit.

Gehrman has enjoyed the many stories and information that have been shared with him by people that have had a connection to the building, and he is hoping that continues.

The store will remain open

Gehrman and Born want customers to be prepared for a little confusion the last week in January, prior to the transfer of ownership Feb. 5, but they will not close the store to complete the transition.

“We will have a good crew of people to move stuff around, and Paul and Barb Boger offered to stay and help us,” Gehrman said.

“There will be someone here to help customers get what they need. It might be a little disorganized depending on what we are working on. We will have it be as organized as possible and if someone needs a product, we should be able to find it,” Born added.

The store’s phone number is (320) 485-2443. The hours will be Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

An open house is being planned sometime in March.

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