Mayville Hardware Continues Successful Operation

The Mayville Hardware storefront sits on Erie Street in Mayville. New owners Craig and Sherry Stewart have been running things for the past eight months and have evolved the business in their offers to install anything customers buy and provide a new computerized system for checkouts. P-J photo by Eric Zavinski

MAYVILLE — Mayville Hardware may have briefly closed shop back in November, but after eight months under the fresh ownership of Craig and Sherry Stewart, owners of Sea, Land and Air, also known as Stewart’s Contracting, it continues its success through the summer months.

The business couple wasted no time in making sure the staple of the Mayville community wouldn’t fade from the local storefront scene. Even before the closure under previous family ownership, the Stewarts had started work purchasing Mayville Hardware.

The Stewart family began the purchasing process in early September because Craig felt a pending closure of the hardware store would negatively affect other local businesses, including his own Sea, Land and Air that specializes in landscaping work, kitchen and bathroom remolding and repairs on boats and small airplanes.

After an offer was put together and accepted last fall, the Stewarts went through the most extensive part of the purchasing process: acquiring financing and establishing a new relationship with the sponsoring warehouse, Do It Best. Work to acquire Mayville Hardware was finally completed Nov. 28, and the store immediately opened thereafter.

“A lot of people were glad that (Mayville Hardware) didn’t close,” Sherry Stewart said.

Stewart ownership of Mayville Hardware continues a family legacy in which the Anderson family operated the store. Amy Shultz, third generation owner and granddaughter of the original owner, was the most recent operator.

After initial operations were performed under new ownership, the Stewarts felt encouraged by the response of the village. Customers can still come to Mayville Hardware to get glass cut, windows glazed, screens replaced, keys made, pipecut and threaded and more.

Mayville Hardware is continuing its approximate 65-year legacy into the future. New products, renovations and a computerized checkout system have all been introduced under the Stewarts’ guidance. Transferring from a cash register to a point of sale system has helped streamline the scanning of products, including new items such as hot water tanks that were introduced shortly after the store reopened.

“We wanted to do it all before summer,” Stewart said of the new computer system and streamlined business model.

A major proponent of their business the Stewarts advertise is being able to install anything bought by any customer. That’s the case with the hot water tanks, light fixtures, door knobs and even boat-related products such as propellors.

“You buy it here; we can install it,” Stewart said.

That’s where the advantage from running both Mayville Hardware and Sea, Land and Air comes in to focus. Craig handles most of the physical operations including installations, contracting and taking care of maintenance for boats and more.

Plans are in the works to paint the front of the Erie Street business to coordinate its colors with the warehouse they work out of: Do It Best. Beyond a potential added orangish hue to the storefront, new flooring and shelving are on their way, too.

Sherry’s made a substantial change in her life, as she used to work with her husband doing physical labor and contracting. She still handles Sea, Land and Air billing and partners with her husband, but now she provides the mental labor by handling checkouts, managing employees and filling out financial information.

“Never owning or working in a retail store has taught me a lot,” Stewart said.

Stewart said one of the challenges early on was building back up an employee base. One employee who worked for the previous owner for six years helped prepare the Stewarts for the boom in business that typically comes in the summer months. After hiring more workers in the slower winter and spring seasons, they proved ready for another summer of tourists and outdoor projects.

The Stewarts’ son helped with the transition during his last year in welding school. He recently moved to Erie for a position in his field, leaving his parents to complete their transition from customers of Mayville Hardware to owners. They said they’re glad to have kept this Mayville resource alive so that customers don’t have to drive to Jamestown or Fredonia for their hardware needs.

Craig also has an idea to offer treated lumber behind the store in a backyard pavillion. Currently, there are no locations to buy lumber in Mayville, so the Stewarts seek to fill another hole in the community with their plans.

“Now that the summer people have come in, everyone keeps saying how glad they are that the place is still open,” Stewart said.

Sherry says she and her husband purchased this store for their retirement and plan on operating the store into the future. Located at 53 S. Erie St. in Mayville, Mayville Hardware is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays. The store can be contacted at 753-2621 during hours of operation.