After 44 years running Trustworthy Hardware, owner Jim Farrell has stepped back and handed the hammer to new co-owners Bryce Stephens, Brook and Becky Stephens. Farrell said he couldn’t be happier to pass the business on to his stepgrandson and stepdaughter.
“Bryce seems to love doing what he’s gonna be doing here,” Farrell said.
Farrell said he’s enjoyed his life in De Smet since he bought Trustworthy Hardware from his father-in-law Charles Nelson in 1973. At the time, Nelson himself had been running the store for 40-some years.
“I really liked the area and I still do,” he said. “I spent my childhood in Ohio, but this is my home. I love it here. I’ve been able to call it home for most of my life.”
He grew up near the Appalachian Mountains in Powhaten Point, Ohio. He earned a degree in engineering at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and worked briefly for Univac Corporation in Minneapolis, Minn., and Westinghouse.
“There was a big demand for engineers at the time,” he said. “They came to the school and recruited you.”
But Farrell said he always knew he wanted to own his own business and when the opportunity opened in De Smet it sounded right to him.
When Farrell bought the business, it was contained entirely in the 50-foot storefront where customers now enter. He changed the name to Trustworthy and settled in. Since then, the business has expanded three times, starting with an addition in the back. Later, Farrell purchased the shop next door, which used to be Long’s Men’s Wear, and added on to the back of that.
Ferrell said he is now waiting on the grandchildren of some of the farmers he waited on his first day on the job. His first winter here stands out to him. He said there was 30 inches of snow piled against the back door of the house he still lives in on Joliet Avenue in De Smet. He sold his first snowblower that day to Rollo Peterson who then helped him blow snow off the roof so it wouldn’t collapse.
“There was always a feeling of helping each other out,” he said. “That’s one of the things I like about this area.”
Farrell said, “It’s been very rewarding for me and I couldn’t thank everyone enough for putting up with me.”
He said, “It’s really exciting for me to have a young person willing to take over my business.”
His successor Bryce Stephens comes to De Smet from Redfield where he was a recent high school graduate. Becky went to high school here in De Smet. Bryce took two years of accounting at Black Hills State University before coming to take over the hardware store. He started learning the ropes in January of this year.
“We’re not looking at a lot changes,” Bryce said. “We’re gonna clean up the store and implement a few things like sales to catch people’s eye when they walk by on the street.”
He said he plans to convert the store to a digital cash register by the end of the year. He is also considering setting up a Facebook presence.
Becky said they have ideas for some new products and offerings but it is still too early to share. “We’re waiting for stuff to slow down before we start making those changes. We knew coming in that June was going to be a hectic month.”
Bryce said he has been impressed with the business community in De Smet. Becky said, “The support in this community is amazing. People are good here. We’re excited to keep the business in the family and carry on.”
Posted on 06-21-2018
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