President Obama pays shopping visit to Toledo hardware store

Following a tour of a Chrysler automobile assembly plant on June 3, President Barack Obama paid an unexpected visit to Fred’s PRO Hardware in Toledo, Ohio. It seems that the First Lady needed gardening gloves.

Obama chose a pair of $4.99 green Boss Dirt Digger gloves. After the purchase, he posed for photos with store employees and approximately seven customers before leaving in his motorcade. 

Jeff Brown, the owner of Fred’s PRO Hardware, was out of town during Obama’s visit. He received a phone call from the store’s mechanic after the commander-in-chief’s departure. The employee tried, unsuccessfully, to get his boss to guess who had been in the store. Finally he just told him: “The president.”

"Who?" asked Brown.

"The president," he repeated. 

"What president?" asked Brown.

"The president of the United States."

Fred’s PRO Hardware soon sold out of the Boss Dirt Digger gloves and had to order more. No problem, said Shari Kalbach, managing director for Denver-based PRO Group. Boss Manufacturing Co. is a PRO key supplier, she said. And Fred's PRO Hardware is a customer of The Bostwick-Braun Co., a PRO Hardware distributor member.  

"Fred's PRO Hardware has been a PRO Hardware store for over 30 years," Kalbach said. "I'm sure this ranks as one of their most famous customers. I'm happy that the President chose an independent hardware store."

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