Medina Hardware

The building located at 225 South Court Street has been in operation since 1872 and supplying Medina with hardware since 1879. This building was first built after the fire in 1870 on the square. Its first owner was Lyman Oatman, who named the building Oatman's Hardware. He owned the store until 1933. In 1933, he sold the store to Willard Stephenson who changed the name to Medina Hardware. Today Medina Hardware is owned by Willard's son Rick Stephenson and attempts to retain as much tradition as possible in today's modern society.

Images

The Storefront

The Storefront

Today the hardware store is owned and operated by Willard's son, Rick Stephenson. Medina Hardware, and Oatman's before it, is and was a very important part of the history of Medina. The importance of tradition and family values to the Stephenson family is a refreshing outlook on the business plan in today's world that is dominated by corporations. The fact that the business has managed to stay in business all these years is a testiment to the commitment of both the Stephenson's and the Oatman's before them to ethical business practices and the importance of the store to the community. Even with chain stores moving into the community the Medina Hardware store has survived because of its emphasis on customer service and and caring staff. Image Courtesy of Brian Kinch View File Details Page

A Small Business in an Ever Growing City

A Small Business in an Ever Growing City

Rick Stephenson has tried to keep the store running the same way it has been since his father took over. Mr. Stephenson believes the reason why Medina Hardware has such a strong and loyal group of customers. This fact alone keeps Medina Hardware in business when it has to compete with large corporations such as Home Depot. Medina Hardware is able to keep this group of customers and continues to provide amazing service. While large corporations are changing, growing, and globalizing, Medina Hardware tries to be the "Classic Store" that people seem to like more and more. While everything seems to get bigger, Medina Hardware stays the same, making it easier for everyone. Image Courtesy of Mitch Wall View File Details Page

An Award of Excellence

An Award of Excellence

Award of Excellence given to the Stephenson Family for their restoration of the storefront. The Stephenson family restored Medina Hardware to its original Victorian-style architecture as part of the city of Medina's attempt to restore historical sites throughout its Public Square. Image Courtesy of Mitch Wall View File Details Page

What's a Cash Registerz

What's a Cash Registerz

Rick Stephenson, manager and owner of Medina Hardware in 2011, shows a group of high school students how the cash register to his store operates. According to Rick Stephenson, it is important to show younger generations how small family businesses operate in order to pass on the idea of tradition that his father, Willard Stephenson, promoted when he first opened Medina Hardware. Image Courtesy of Mitch Wall View File Details Page

The Cash Register

The Cash Register

Willard Stephenson, the founder of Medina Hardware, is still present in the store today through many objects, especially his original cash register. The cash register, which has lasted over seventy years of use, embodies the ideas of tradition and old-fashion business which Willard Stephenson promoted when he first bought Medina Hardware from the Oatman brothers.Rick Stephenson, Willard's son, still uses the same cash register that his father bought in 1935. Althougth the country is going through technilogical proliferation the only modern technology Medina Hardware has is a calculator. He believes that, to run a good business, the manager must keep the business small, take nobody for granted, and always put service first. With the expansion of North Court Street bringing in new business such as Home Depot, one may believe that this would hurt Medina Hardware. In reality Stephenson says that this has helped his business because shoppers are now looking for a place where they can find help fast and get in and out of the store as quickly as possible. Medina Hardware provides this need with its knowledgeable workers and unique items that other stores may not carry. Stephenson preaches the importance of the difference between value and price. He says that Medina Hardware may not provide the cheapest prices but they will give you the greatest value for your dollar.In 2008 Medina Hardware awarded for the restoration of the 1872 Oatman Building. Image Courtesy of Mitch Wall View File Details Page

Advertising

Advertising

The store was operated by the Oatman brothers until 1933 when the current owner's father purchased the building. The Oatman brothers sold the store in 1933 to Willard Stephenson. Willard Stephenson was one year out of business school at Miami University and faced the task of starting a business during the Depression Era. Willard Stephenson named his business Medina Hardware because he wanted to separate himself from Oatman and he did not want to put his family's name on it in case the store failed. Willard only planned to run the business for five years but Medina Hardware is still owned by the Stephenson's today. During World War II, Willard enlisted in the military and his Uncle took control of the store. Fortunately, his life was spared and he was able to return to the store and take over the reins. During the Boom Era, Medina Hardware saw much success. Medina at the time was going through Rural Electrification. Electricity was being moved from cities to suburbs and more houses were being built in Medina. This increased business and allowed Medina Hardware to establish itself as the main hardware store in Medina. To promote their business, they created many flyers that acted as advertisements, which appealed to many Medineans around the area. In the flyer above, Medina Hardware is trying to take advantage of the seasons by advertising their spring sales, which appeal to spring activities like lawn care and other outdoor activities like barbecuing. Image Provided by Mitch Wall View File Details Page

A Step Back in Time

A Step Back in Time

225 South Court St. was owned by the Oatman brothers up to 1933, when it was changed to Medina Hardware by Williard Stephenson. But before then, the Oatman brothers had managed their store into a successful business, becoming the primary hardware provider in Medina. In looking at the storefront today, the only thing that seems to have changed is the name. This building, Oatman's and Medina Hardware, have been around almost as long as Medina itself has existed. While Medina grew as a town, Medina Hardware was able to supplement the town. During the early stages of Medina, many people were expanding, just as America was expanding during the late 19th century. Medina Hardware made this possible for Medina. Image Courtesy of The Stephenson Family View File Details Page

A Bustling Town

A Bustling Town

The store was first constructed after the fire on the square in 1870. The oldest store on the square has been in operation since 1872, when it was run by Lyman Oatman, Jr.. While Lyman ran the store it was primarily a meat market. The store was located on a street known as the Mechanical Block, because of the specialties of the stores on the street. The store, however, was not a hardware store until 1879, when the Oatmans' added on a small hardware section to the existing section of the store. Also in 1879, Lyman's brother, Orlin, joined him and renamed the building Oatman Brothers. In addition to traditional hardware supplies, the brothers also sold iron, enamel and aluminum roasters. The success of the store was due in large part to the agrarian nature of Medina during the time period. The residents of Medina were more self-sufficient during this time period, therefore Oatman's was a great place for the customers to pick up necessary supplies for their homes or farms. Image Courtesy of The Medina Historical Society View File Details Page

Oatman's Hardware

Oatman's Hardware

Oatman's was also a hardware store like Medina Hardware is today. Oatman's became a hardware store to supply for the agrarian culture of Medina in 1879. The store was a place where farmers could buy any tools or supplies needed to run a farm, so because of this, Oatman's greatly contributed to the growth and development of Medina's economy. Image Courtesy of The Medina Historical Society View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Ryan S; Josh H; Mitch Wall; Bruce X; Brian Kinch., “Medina Hardware,” Discover Medina, accessed July 22, 2017, http://discovermedina.org/items/show/18.

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