A real do-it-yourself story.
The stories of hardware and home improvement companies who have taken on the Goliaths of the industry – Home Depot and Lowe’s – and been vanquished, are many.
McLendon Hardware is a shining example. The weapons of choice for this family owned and operated company are superior customer service and deep knowledge of everything they sell – all 75,000 items.
They have succeeded where others have failed. Even the one-time giants of the Pacific Northwest, Eagle, Ernst and Pay-n-Pak, have been the victims of poor decisions and bad timing. Sometimes, it’s the slow and steady who are the real winners in the race for customers. McLendon Hardware has clearly demonstrated the wisdom of such a strategy, not only gaining loyal customers, but becoming a locally loved legend in the process.
It was on the rugged streets of Renton, Washington that the seeds of this legend were first sown. M.J. “Mac” McLendon had recently moved to the town with his family from Portland, Oregon, going into business with his father in law, George Emery. The U.S. Junk Company opened its doors in 1927, with George and Mac traveling around Seattle and vicinity in a horse drawn wagon, going house-to-house collecting tools, light fixtures and odds and ends to sell in their store.
As with many entrepreneurs, Mac recognized a once in a lifetime opportunity when he saw it. It came in the form of a competitor’s store across the street. Mac bought half interest in it for $500 and it was renamed Dale & McLendon.
In the 1950s, Mac’s sons saw the future of the hardware business and it was do-it-yourself. The McLendons – Mac, sons Bob and Ted and sisters Dorothy and Wanda – changed the name of the store to McLendon Hardware, expanding not once, but twice over the intervening years to handle increasing customer demand. A second store in Sumner came online in the 1970s and a dozen McLendons – the third generation of family members – went to work in area stores and distribution centers.
One of the hallmarks of this business is its deep commitment to the communities it serves. McLendon supports various charities, including churches, schools, children’s organizations, city events, chambers and hospitals.
The community returned the favor. When the company was looking for a larger space in Renton, the city helped McLendon put in a last minute bid for the property where the city’s Kmart once stood. The new, bigger and better flagship store opened in 2004 on Rainier Avenue, joining stores in Woodinville, Sumner, White Center, Puyallup, Tacoma and Kent. The seven stores employ 500 workers.
While times have definitely changed over the years and new players have come and gone in the hardware business, McLendon Hardware continues to reinvent itself, finding new generations of loyal customers who know all to well that if McLendon doesn’t have it, you probably don’t need it.
Visit McLendon Hardware online.