MARION — Marion residents used to have to travel to the south side of Cedar Rapids to obtain industrial hardware, construction supplies and custom hydraulic hoses.
“The only option for hoses was to drive clear to the other side of town, and there was no place in Marion to buy bulk hardware,” said Jerry Crow about his decision to open Crowbar’s Hardware and Hydraulic Hose on the east side of Marion.
“After hearing that from hundreds of people, I figured who better to do it than me?”
Crow has been making hydraulic hoses since high school, when he worked part time at a hardware store. He went on to a 24-year career in the automotive parts industry, working for the past 15 years as a parts store manager.
Last February, he decided to open his own business.
“The first process was figuring out what kind of business I was going to do,” he said. “I landed on both hydraulic hoses and hardware. The next thing was finding a location to do it that would serve the area.”
Although Crow considered renting the space that once housed the hardware store where he worked as a youth, he opted for a different location just off Highway 100.
“That building was a lot larger than what I needed and it didn’t have the big overhead doors,” he said. “This one is smack dab in the middle of a lot of industrial places in Marion.”
In addition to customers in industrial and construction-related businesses, Crowbar’s also serves farmers, filling another void Crow recognized when developing his business plan.
“No one caters to farmers on this side of the county,” Crow said. “Farmers don’t like driving into town any farther than they have to.”
Crowbar’s, which opened in September, carries standard and metric bolts, nuts and washers as well as supplies such as binder chains, ratchet straps, V-belts, shop rags, gloves and ice melt.
“I have over 2,000 part numbers in the system,” Crow said. “Last time I counted, I had 170,000 nuts and bolts here. But that varies on the day.”
The business also repairs and makes custom hydraulic hoses and offers managed hardware inventory services.
Crow currently has one part-time employee – a former co-worker from the auto parts store – and anticipates hiring additional staff as the business expands. He said he is continually adding new inventory based on what customers are seeking.
“We’re just trying to fill a need for the guys so they can be more efficient,” he said.
l Know a business that’s been in operation for less than a year that would make an interesting “Ground Floor”? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At a Glance
l Owner: Jerry Crow
l Business: Crowbar’s Hardware and Hydraulic Hose
l Address: 4151 Third Avenue, Suite 101, Marion
l Phone: (319) 200-2769
l Email: email@example.com
l website: www.crowbars.ltd