JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- Ninety years is a long time for a small business to survive, but a southern Indiana hardware store has overcome a lot of obstacles and is still facing challenges.
Heuser Hardware on Spring Street in Jeffersonville is celebrating 90 years in business. It seems like a long time ago, but the neighborhood hardware store was an important part of just about every community in the country.
But its numbers are dwindling.
James Heuser was an employee at the old Belknap Hardware Company in Louisville when, in 1923, he decided to go into business for himself and open a small neighborhood store in Jeffersonville.
The name of the hardware store remains the same. But the ownership has changed several times and the store is now owned by three partners -- Tom Densford, his twin brother Bill, and Larry Rogers.
"I came to work when I was 17 years old, and have been here ever since," said Tom Densford. "I never left, and I still enjoy it as much as when I was 17."
Over the years the hardware store has survived a lot of challenges, including the 1937 flood. Today it is not threatened by high water, but stiff competition.
"There are so many people that sell hardware now," explained Densford. "Years ago, you went and got hardware at a hardware store. Now you pretty much go anywhere and get hardware."
Heuser Hardware still has the feeling of a small town hardware store with its wooden floor, and merchandise packed onto store shelves. It is a throwback to the past, but that also includes good customer service.
"What we can offer people," said Densford, "is that you can come in and actually get experienced advice. That is what we pride ourselves on."
Loyal customers here are a mix of homeowners and professionals in the construction industry.
"Quite frankly," said John Brian, a customer who visits the store several times a month, "stores like this are a dinosaur. They are a dying breed, the mom-and-pop stores, but I prefer to put my money here. I don't like the big box stores. Here they usually have what I want."
Ninety years in business will be marked with a big celebration on Saturday June 29, with customer giveaways.
Densford hopes his store can eventually reach its centennial.
"I hope we make it to 100. That would be pretty neat," he said.
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