MY BIZ

Vernon Village True Value is back open with new owners

The same family business, in a different location

Greg Miller works on the sign at the Vernon Village True Value hardware store, 3501 Mt. Vernon Rd. SE, in southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. Miller, along with his brothers Zach and Tim, own the store as well as one in Waverly. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Greg Miller works on the sign at the Vernon Village True Value hardware store, 3501 Mt. Vernon Rd. SE, in southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. Miller, along with his brothers Zach and Tim, own the store as well as one in Waverly. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Longtime shoppers of the True Value hardware store on Mount Vernon Road, on the southeast side of Cedar Rapids, will be happy to know it has re-opened for business. But a visit will show longtime shoppers that some things changed.

For one, they’ve redone the entry and exit doors.

“We’ve had a few nose bumps,” co-owner Tim Miller said.

Miller owns the store with his brothers, Greg and Zach. They have grown up in the hardware business as their family has operated the True Value in Manchester for more than 30 years.

“Our parents were in the business so long and the owners of this store knew them,” Miller said. “They reached out to us to see if my dad was interested in buying the store.

“Many of these small local stores don’t have succession plans. Our dad wasn’t interested in buying it, but he knew that my brothers and I would be.”

The Miller brothers took ownership of the store Jan. 1 and have spent the past several months getting the store ready before opening about two weeks ago. They are planning an official grand reopening for May 18. A sale for the two weeks before then is intended to more attention.

“We want to make as big a splash as possible with our re-opening,” Miller said.

But they already have had a steady stream of shoppers wanting to see the newly arranged space, he said.

“It’s been a fun process,” Miller said. “It’s nice to see the public come in and check it out.

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In addition to changing the entry and exit doors, the Miller brothers decided to reformat the layout of the store, move the cash registers and add a state-of-the-art paint mixing station setup in the middle of the store.

The 14,000-square-foot store also needed repairs to the floor.

“We moved all the shelves to half the store, refinished the floors, then moved the shelves to the other half and refinished that flooring. It was quite the process,” said Miller, noting that they opted to go with polished concrete floors.

There’s also more inventory.

“We have almost the double amount of products in the new store setup,” Miller said.

The store was liquidated before their purchase.

“Product-wise, my brothers, Phil and I went four-foot section by four-foot section to decide what and where to put every product,” Miller recalled.

“We’ve received more than 12 full semi-truck loads of freight to rebuild our inventory.”

Longtime store manager, Phil Cronin, has stayed on.

“We bought the employee base and met with them as a group and then individually and they have all stayed on,” Miller said. “We asked them what they would like changed or kept the same, and we tried to incorporate as much as possible.”

That’s where the idea for the new store layout and checkout set up came from, he added.

True Value Vernon Village now also will sell riding lawn mowers, lawn and garden supplies, and patio equipment. The grill inventory has been expanded.

The Miller family still owns and operates the True Value in Manchester. Each of the Miller brothers work at Vernon Village True Value a couple days a week.

“We’ve grown up in the business and our dad has mentored us on how he has gotten to where he is,” Miller said.

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At a glance

• Co-owner: Tim Miller

• Business: Vernon Village True Value

• Address: 3501 Mount Vernon Rd. SE, Cedar Rapids

• Phone: (319) 362-8637

• Website: https://bit.ly/2uX7yJP

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.