Hardware Hank is new to FD
Iowa Outdoors Store welcomes additional retail offering
A construction worker walked into the newly opened Hardware Hank affiliated Iowa Outdoors Hardware and Rental Thursday afternoon at Third Avenue Northwest and U.S. Highway 169 still wearing his hard hat and dressed for being outside.
“Do you have any steel drill bits?” he asked.
Aaron McKinney, manager of the new store, had him back out the door in a few minutes with exactly the right drill bit needed at the job site.
Co-owner Gale McKinney said the doors opened Sept. 25.
Adding a hardware store to the existing Iowa Outdoors Store — which is still going strong — was a result of several factors.
They originally explored an equipment rental store.
“Our initial idea was that we were missing a rental store for the do-it-your-selfer, small contractor or even larger contractors,” he said. “That’s what led us into hardware.”
They also realized that it was a serious need.
“There are two things people tell me are needed on this side of town,” he said. “A grocery store and a hardware store.”
They selected Hardware Hank to be affiliated with based on several family members having long-term experience as owners and employees of hardware stores under the same banner.
He stressed that Hardware Hank is a buying group and does not own the store.
There’s plenty of experience to help customers find that thingie or doodad that they may not have the right name for.
“Two of our employees owned and operated a hardware store for years,” he said.
Having the hardware store and the Iowa Outdoors Store under the same roof has proven beneficial for both. There is still a full selection of guns and ammunition, fishing supplies, archery equipment and other outdoor needs such as clothing. In fact, since the hardware store opens earlier, the outdoors section now has longer hours.
“The hardware store is a natural feeder for the outdoor store and the outdoor store is a natural feeder for the hardware store,” he said. “It’s mutually beneficial.”
The indoor archery range is still on the premises as well. It’s been moved to another room and now operates with a 24-hour access key fob system.
McKinney said they are offering a variety of services to their customers. In addition to tool and equipment rental, they are also adding small engine and equipment repairs.
They carry an extensive line of Valspar paint.
“We can mix and match on the most modern equipment available,” he said.
Stihl power equipment is another line carried and they are the largest dealer in the area for Traeger grills and accessories.
“We have all the stuff for those,” he said. “We are the Traeger center in Fort Dodge.”
They are also happy to special order items in case they might not have them in stock.
“We can place an order on Tuesday and have it on Thursday,” he said.
That isn’t likely to be needed though, while the store may look unassuming from the outside, that’s not the case inside.
“We’re a fully stocked store,” he said. “Most people are surprised how much stuff we have.”
He said he also looks for feedback on inventory from his customers.
“What don’t we have,” he asks, “What do you need.”
The location of the store also offers residents of the west side of Fort Dodge as well as communities nearby a time savings. Other retail locations for hardware items are located on the east side of town.
“It’s a needed thing,” Aaron McKinney said. “This saves time for people.”