State-by-state Hardware Store All-Stars: Utah, Vt., Va.

The countdown continues: Home Channel News' state-by-state, alphabetical listing of high-performance hardware stores continues with three stores that reflect a diversity of American hardware retailing.

• Utah
Parley’s Hardware
On the home page of Orem, Utah-based Parley’s Hardware website (, owner Parley Hellewell speaks to his customers in a video clip, saying how “My wife thinks I’m crazy” for running a hardware store instead of retiring. But don’t let the overalls fool you. Hellewell operates a home improvement store that few single operators can rival. In addition to core categories, Parley’s Hardware has installed sales, a handyman service and separate divisions that handle insulation, air-duct cleaning and HVAC services. Classes are held on site five nights a week, ranging from salsa-making and women’s self defense to contractor-oriented topics. “What more fun can there be than going down all day and playing in a hardware store?” Hellewell asks. 

• Vermont

Robinson Hardware
When Robinson Hardware opened for business, Benjamin Harrison was president of the United States. That was 1890. In the ensuing 121 years, this establishment remains family-run, still offers free delivery and sells plenty of building supplies. “We have a good selection of lumber -- pressure-treated lumber especially -- and we have a large Sheetrock selection,” said Kathy Robinson, who runs the store with her “jack of all trades” husband, James, in South Hero, Vt., 20 miles north of Burlington. The store has seven employees.

• Virginia
Taylor’s Do it Centers
In the Norfolk and Virginia Beach area, Taylor’s Do it Centers are entering their 84th year -- and seeing a fourth generation enter the business. (Do it Best CEO Bob Taylor is a grandson of co-founder Robert Taylor.) Forward-thinking formats include Taylor’s Do it Express, extra convenient for the in-and-out customer; and Taylor’s Fire Works, specializing in gas grills, fireplace furnishings and garden accessories.

The next edition of HCN Monday will complete the all-start list with profiles on retailers in Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. To read the original story with all 50 all-stars as it appeared in the May issue of Home Channel News, log on or register here.

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