Story by Annie Card, Annie Card Creative Services; Photo by Kimberly Peck
Edmunds Hardware Store on Main Street in Antrim is a classic, with well-worn wooden floors, and aisles filled floor to ceiling with new items, and with everything you need to repair what you already have.
I met with Rick Edmunds in the store’s basement, beside the workbench where he’d recently fixed a customer’s faucet. “If it’s worth fixing, then that’s what we’ll do or show you how to do,” said Rick.
“People remember when you help them out. We have always operated on the principle of solving people’s problems.”
Rick’s been working at Edmunds for more than 30 years, starting at 10 years old. He used to sweep the floors, and help move the big stuff outdoors. As a boy, he’d go to the store before it opened, and help carry out the merchandise that clogged the aisles.Save Save
Depending on the season, Rick moved snow shovels, rakes and lawn mowers; plus ladders, trash barrels, kiddie pools, grills, lawn furniture, drying racks. After arranging the last item out by the walk, Rick picked up his backpack and walked to school.
Today Rick manages the family business, following in his father’s footsteps, and his father’s father before him. Hattie and Clarence Edmunds opened their first store in Henniker in 1942, and in 1962 opened a second location in Antrim. Rick’s grandmother, Hattie, is 95 and still works daily in the Henniker store. Clarence died in 2004. Rick’s parents, Lorraine and Dick also still work in the family business.
Edmunds is bigger and stronger than ever for a few reasons. First, the family has always reinvested in the business: buying land and building a new store at routes 114 and 202 in Henniker when they outgrew the original downtown location; and always keeping up with the latest products and technology, like computer paint matching systems.
Second, they listen to their customers and put them first. No matter how big the competition is, they will never beat Edmunds’s customer service. Thirdly, the big box stores will never beat Edmunds’s staff. “We’ve always had the best employees. They’re knowledgeable and resourceful, and they like what they do.” One Henniker employee just retired after 40 years.
After earning a degree in business from UNH, and working outside the family business for two and a half years, Rick decided it was time to return to the fold.
Before taking the baton from his father, Rick had one thing he wanted to do. He spent five and a half months hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. Once he got off the trail, he headed back to Antrim and took over management of the family business.
Rick lives in Antrim with his wife and their two sons, all of who work at Edmunds, carrying on their family tradition of taking care of their customers.
“It’s all about treating people right, great service. It’s what drew me to Monadnock Buy Local. I believe in what they do. I learned about Plaid Friday, and thought how much sense that makes. We appreciate our customers, and likewise we also think local. I know it matters, to support other small businesses. It helps all of us.”