Hardware Retailing

JAN 2018

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | January 2018 74 Speller's True Value Invests in the Community S ince the 1960s, the east side of Waterloo, Iowa, hasn't seen very much economic activity other than restaurants and convenience stores. Allen Speller and his father, Wendell, have been engaged in local commerce through a variety of businesses and ventures to help revitalize the area for more than three decades. Opening a hardware store had been a topic of family conversation for a long time, but the timing wasn't quite right until 2015. "My parents talked about opening a hardware store years ago and never acted on it," Speller says. "The nearest hardware store is about 15 to 20 miles away, so everyone in town would go out that way if they needed something." Speller's family has a long history in Waterloo, with relatives arriving in the early 1900s to work on the railroad and at the John Deere plant, which still employs many of the town's residents and members of the Speller family today. Wendell worked at John Deere about 30 years ago, and when he was laid off, he fulfilled his dream of becoming an entrepreneur and business owner by opening a men's clothing store in Waterloo. "My dad has owned the clothing store for 30 years, and he has run trucking companies and has managed rental properties, too. He also has some experience in real estate," Speller says. After high school, Speller began pursuing a business degree, but eventually left school to follow in his father's initial footsteps at the John Deere plant. While there, he took advantage of John Deere's education program. The company paid for his associate's degree in business administration, which Speller completed in just one year. But, also similarly to his father, his role at John Deere wasn't forever. "I was laid off, too, and I didn't want to keep going through that cycle. I had some money saved up, so we decided to start a business." Casting the Right Spell By Melanie Moul, mmoul@nrha.org

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