Woodlake True Value Hardware Store Celebrating 100 Years of Continuous Service in 2017.
The day had turned out to be a typical Central Valley day, 104 degrees in the shade, and there was no shade. At 1:40 p.m. I rushed out of my car parked four feet from the new True Value Woodlake Hardware Store entrance for my 1:30 interview with Andrew Dorais and Russ Howard, the co-managers of the store.
A traffic accident on the freeway from Visalia, 20 miles west of town, had slowed me for an hour, so YES, I was late when I got there.
One of our Woodlake Chamber of Commerce Car Show posters had front and center position on the front door.
Yeah! Good advertisement!
The door opened and air-conditioning already started to cool me down and settle my driving nerves. Leanne Jones greeted me with a smile, and Andrew and Russ came out to usher me back to the hardware office for our scheduled appointment.
The City of Woodlake commissioned me to write several articles about the different businesses in Woodlake for their magazine, and Andrew met me on the street the on Thursday, June 30 and immediately set an appointment for the next day.
Both Andrew and Russ have talked to me in the past, so I began by asking them how they were doing with the lofty goals they had set when they began working November 1st. Unlike me and my goals, they have achieved all of them and thank the community of Woodlake for the show of support.
8 Reasons to Shop Local
Woodlake is a bedroom community of Visalia. It isn’t far, but it is. It’s twenty miles, and even farther to the hardware stores in town. Some people might even go to Fresno which is about 45 miles away or Bakersfield – 60 miles away.
NOT ME! I think I’ll stay in Woodlake.
Together Russ and Andrew explained eight reasons to shop local rather than going to Visalia or Fresno for hardware and building needs.
- They have what I need in the store for building, decorating, and fixing things around the home.
- If they don’t have what I need in the store, I can order online through the True Value online website and it comes at no charge. That’s a big bonus for those of us who live even farther out in the country.
- Andrew and Russ brought in a huge selection of off-road vehicles. For farmers and laborers who work ranches that range from 7 to over several thousands of acres, nothing could be more practical. Even kids can help their parents run errands driving these around the ranch.
- After remodeling and redecorating, the next major step towards creating a new Woodlake Hardware was restocking and reorganizing merchandise. The isles sparkle with new hardware items, garden supplies, toys and items for the home.
- The layout has changed since November. It is brighter with new lights and ceiling. I wandered into the garden section taking pictures. Almost immediately I found the outdoor furniture section. Even the lawn mowers looked pretty, and I hate mowing.
- Customer service goes without saying at any business, but it usually goes without saying. Many times I’ve walked into a hardware store, and not even seen a clerk who could help me. Unfortunately, I need a lot of help when my husband sends me to the store for some item I’ve never even seen or heard of before. It’s not a problem here. They all know my name! It’s like going into Cheers. OK, maybe you’re too young to remember that.
- They wanted to have a mechanics repair shop for small engines, and now they do. I should have asked more about the kinds of small engines they were talking about.
- Finally, the quality of the merchandise brings customers back. As Andrew pointed out, and I have experienced shopping for lumber with hubby, it can take rummaging through a few boards before we find the ones that are undamaged and usable. At Woodlake Hardware we can trust them to have just the best pieces. They stay competitive in price as well, and if we have a large order, they have it drop shipped to our building site.
That’s cool. I bet my husband is regretting the trips to Fresno to pick up flooring during our remodel already. He wanted to save the shipping fee, so he DROVE to Fresno, paid a friend’s grandson to help him, and he tweaked his back unloading the 50-pound boxes. What a bargain!
I bet he’s hitting his forehead and saying, “I could have shopped in Woodlake!”
So if you are thinking of driving to Fresno or Visalia to shop for lumber or hardware needs, outdoor furniture, off-road vehicles, bikes for the kids, STOP. Take a short drive to Woodlake, and check out what is here. You will be pleasantly surprised.
Before I had finished taking pictures one display reached out and grabbed me.
I had looked in Visalia for a couple of fold-up portable chairs for the park. They cost $34.00 at one of the stores, so I passed them up. Woodlake True Value Hardware had them on sale for $10.99. I bought two, and told everyone I saw at the July 3rd Blast to go get one before they all sold out!
Below you can listen to our interview on my first podcast. It is not the best quality recording because I don’t have a microphone, so I recorded this with my cell phone and used Audacity to “Normalize” the volume. You can tell it is not very normal.
It was fairly boring with just voices, (sorry Andrew, Russ and Marsha) so I found this great podcast music and purchased 2.5 minutes of “Cowboy Tears” and cut it into little pieces, and pasted it into Podcast #1.
Anyway, it only took two days to normalize and take out all the “uhms.”
Hope you love it. Don’t worry if you don’t. It’s not all that easy to do, and I’ll get better.
All I need now is a lot more knowledge, better recording set-up, and a deep-voiced announcer saying “Another Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce Podcast,” or something creative.
So, if you like this article, please share it with your friends. If not, share it with someone you don’t like. (JUST KIDDING)
If you do not live in Woodlake, feel free to share about your favorite local shop. You can be your own local Chamber of Commerce. It’s fun! 🙂