Iowa Outdoors Store continues evolving
McKinney: Supporting small businesses is key to growth
Gale McKinney feels the key to continued growth in Fort Dodge and the surrounding communities is through the support of local businesses.
McKinney has seen just that firsthand as owner of The Iowa Outdoors Hardware and Rental Store, located at 1597 Third Ave. N.W. in Fort Dodge, along with his wife, Audra.
“Because we are a small business, we are huge components of small businesses,” McKinney said. “It’s the only way we will survive. You have to believe in that and provide the service to keep everyone alive and growing in order to have a continued impact on the community.”
Unlike the box stores, McKinney noted that they provide services to enhance the purchases made.
“If you buy a fishing reel, we’ll string it,” he said. “If you buy a new bow, Aaron (McKinney) is going to spend an hour helping you go through it. You have to provide that service component on top of being in the business to succeed.”
Along with remaining true to form by supplying hunting and fishing supplies, the store has branched out over the years in many different ways. That includes archery, small equipment commercial rental, zero-turn mowers and now, LS tractors.
“Those are a big thing for us,” McKinney said. “Compact tractors with 25 horsepower up to 105 horsepower. We are a full-line dealer and full-service department. We have also been approved as a new Toro commercial dealer.
“We’re still looking for more and we are not done. We are looking to expand in all of our lines. There is growth in the power sports and power equipment areas.”
McKinney was also thankful for all the support provided during COVID. As a hardware store, they were deemed an essential business and remained open.
“We expected the worst because, like everyone else, we didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “But we had tremendous growth over those two years. We had a ton of business from our loyal, local customers, and really had great growth with new customers.
“We have a good constant customer base of repeat customers, but I am still amazed that almost daily, someone comes in and comments that they drive by every day and just wanted to stop in and see what we have or that they didn’t even know we were here.
“It’s a great marriage between the outdoor store with hunting, fishing and archery, and the hardware store, with Hardware Hank.”
The Iowa Outdoors Hardware and Rental Store is open 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and noon- to 4 p.m. on Sundays.