One of my passions is supporting the local economy. A fun way to do that is by helping The Floyd County Farmer’s Market which has just started up for the season. Another way is by spending the money John Paul has entrusted to me through the Grow Appalachia grant in stores and businesses that are locally owned, like The Hardware Inc. a small eclectic hardware store/gift shop in Hueysville, Kentucky.
The Hardware Inc. is located on KY Route 7 just outside of Hueysville in a two story building which was part of the TVA projects of the 30’s and has been a hardware store since the 70’s. The steps are steep and the front porch wood and at first glance you don’t think much of the place. That is until you walk inside. Your eyes see shelves of tools, gloves and hardware type stuff but your nose says, “apple pie!!” and that’s because the Hardware Inc is a hardware store and gift shop. Wander around the store and you will see water heater elements next to cast iron skillets next to country décor wall hangings next to “A miner and his family lives here” yard signs next to Candleberry Candles-the source of the apple pie aroma. The Hardware has a bit of everything.
When I asked owner Martha Davis how she decides what to stock in the store she told me, “we just listen to what people need and we get it.” And Martha listens good. As we were talking a man came in and walked around back and after a few minutes Martha asked him if he was finding what he needed. “ just about got my pockets full” was his reply. They went back and forth for about 15 minutes. When he had what he needed, Martha rang him up. Total sale–58¢ and that’s the beauty of buying local.  It is people not profit driven. Martha had lots to say about the big box stores and how hard it is to get distributors to send out sales reps. “We’re rural and we’re small and they just don’t want to fool with us.” But she doesn’t let that stop her and she is keen on buying local herself. The candles, candy and knives that she carries are all made in Kentucky and she buys vegetable starts and flowers from Todd Howard of the Greenhouse Mentoring Program.
In fact, I met Martha on Todd’s advice when I was looking for a local source for spinosad. She carries Bonide products and was willing to order cases of the insecticide and fungicide I needed-at a cut rate price with no shipping. Even couldn’t beat her price. The day of our interview I found 9# wire for our row cover hoops at half the price of Johnny’s Seeds, again with no shipping.
But it’s not really about getting the deal. It’s about people as shown by another story Martha shared with me.  Two years ago on Christmas Eve, Martha got a phone call. A family had the gas go out in their home and the kids were freezing. The gas company said they would come out to replace the regulator if the family could find one. The box stores were closed and so was The Hardware but these were real people so Martha opened up and the family got heat for Christmas. And that, my friends, is why I buy local. The Hardware Inc. is on Facebook. Check it out and like them. I sure do.