Business

Waverly family to take over Mount Vernon True Value

Longtime hardware store a neighborhood gathering place

Phil Cronin, store manager, talks with Shari Mehlhoff of Cedar Rapids as she shops for a grill at the Vernon Village True Value on Mount Vernon Road in Cedar Rapids in August 2017. A Waverly family is buying the store, calming fears of the store’s closure after it started a liquidation sale earlier this fall. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Phil Cronin, store manager, talks with Shari Mehlhoff of Cedar Rapids as she shops for a grill at the Vernon Village True Value on Mount Vernon Road in Cedar Rapids in August 2017. A Waverly family is buying the store, calming fears of the store’s closure after it started a liquidation sale earlier this fall. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS ­— The Mount Vernon Road True Value will close for several weeks for remodeling later this month, but will remain open under new ownership starting next year.

Greg Miller, the owner of the True Value in Waverly, told The Gazette transfer of ownership of the store at 3501 Mount Vernon Rd. SE to him and his brothers Tim and Zach will take effect Jan. 1.

The Mount Vernon Road store has been owned for almost 30 years by Doug and Karen Christner, who also own the True Value in North Liberty. The Cedar Rapids location has held liquidation sales for several weeks to help the Christners consolidate their assets and give the Millers space to bring in new inventory.

The store’s retail floor will be closed between six to eight weeks for interior renovations and some outside sign changes starting Dec. 29.

The store will keep open its repair shop for small engines, window screens and other services during the remodel.

The store has been a mainstay for residents of the surrounding neighborhoods, often serving as an impromptu gathering place for locals as the city gathered feedback on a Mount Vernon Road Corridor Action Plan to make the Mount Vernon Road strip safer for pedestrians and more viable for locally owned businesses.

Miller said the store will retain most of its employees after the ownership change and aim to keep its status as a neighborhood spot for nearby residents.

“It needs to stay where it’s at because everyone communes to it,” he said.

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Store Manager Phil Cronin said he has had customers come in crying and hugging employees over the past few months, and then leaving relieved knowing the store and many of its employees will stay put in the longtime location.

“It’s touching that people are so invested in the store,” Cronin said.

l Comments: (319) 398-8366; dan.mika@thegazette.com

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