Philip Hardware named Small Business Startup of the Year
Wed, 09/27/2017 - 10:34am admin
Philip Hardware, owned and operated by Colton and Erin Fitzgerald since 2015, has been named the region's Small Business Startup of the Year by Black Hills Community Economic Development (BHCED).
The award was presented in Rapid City, Sept. 21, at BHCED's 2017 Small Business Roundup. More than 100 people, mostly other area business owners, were in attendance. As part of the award presentation, a video was shown that described the Fitzgeralds' decision to buy the long established hardware store, and how the couple is remodeling the building, all the while listening to customer needs.
The Fitzgeralds accepted a plaque from BHCED president Kelly Miller to enthusiastic applause from the audience.
"We felt like celebrities, very honored," said Erin moments later. "It was quite a surprise when we were notified that we would receive this."
The event program stated, “Colton and Erin Fitzgerald, lifelong Philip area residents but hardware store newbies, purchased the Philip Hardware store in 2015 using the Small Business Administration 504 loan program. Since then, they have refurbished the historic building and given new life to a long standing business in the community.”
Customers have been supportive of their venture into the hardware business, Erin continued, "and customers are our number one priority. We want them coming back, knowing they do not have to travel out of town for things we can keep in stock or order for them." She added, “We wouldn’t have received this award if it wasn’t for our customers. We owe it to them completely.”
She added that, sometimes, outsiders believe that small communities are not open to change. But that certainly has not been the case in Philip. "The community has been so good to us as we have worked to remodel and to expand the retail area and inventory," Erin said.
Previously known as Ingram Hardware, the business on E. Pine Street in Philip is now Philip Hardware. The official hours are 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, with the owners trying to get out of the store by 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays. But, Colt said that he is often helping customers far earlier and far later than that.
The store is still under the Hardware Hank – United Hardware distribution system. It has undergone some physical changes, and, once the main floor setup is complete, the beginning of the remodel upstairs will begin. The usual hardware selections of plumbing, electrical and other items have been expanded to specialize in the farm and ranch merchandise area and the pet area. Philip Hardware also sells appliances, and hunting and camping gear, including guns and ammunition.
The couple’s four kids are also involved in the business; Gracie, Mia, Carter and Claire.
BHCED helps communities in the Black Hills and surrounding counties to develop increased employment and entrepreneurial services through business startups and expansions. It is best known for promoting and closing United States Small Business Administration 504 Loans. That was a source the Fitzgeralds used to enter the hardware business, and Philip's First National Bank was part of the process, as well.
Other businesses honored September 21 were Iron Outfitter, Piedmont, as Small Business of the Year, and First National Bank of Rapid City as Lender of the Year.