The Saratoga Sun -

 
 

A new trade for an established business

Hanna Hometown Mart adds hardware, looks to keep growing

 

Mike Armstrong

Hanna Hometown Market owner Kyle Young.

Until a little over a month ago, if a resident of Hanna wanted to get some pipe for a plumbing fix, this required a drive to Rawlins, Saratoga or possibly Laramie.

Kyle and Amelia Young, the owners of Hanna's grocery store, have refurbished the back of the store to be a hardware operation.

"We started the hardware side of our business to keep the people in town," Young said of why he opened this department in his one-and-a-half year old food enterprise.

The structure for the grocery/hardware store has been around since the 1970s, with several owners. The last year of a full-service grocery store was 2007, until the Youngs came to open Hanna Homwtown Market July 1, 2016. Associated Foods out of Salt Lake City is the chain that supplies the groceries.

Orgill, the third largest hardware supplier in the country, is where the Youngs get their stock.

"Many of our items are cheaper than what you can find in Laramie," Younger said.

Younger spent his early years growing up in Hanna. He left at age seventeen and went to college in Utah in Utah where he got a degree in biology. His masters program was in Natural Resource Management. He did a business competition and did well and became interested in the idea of owning a business.

In 2012 the Youngs came to Wyoming hoping for a job in conservation. It didn't happen and Young took a job at the penitentiary in Rawlins. He realized the job was not for him and began looking into businesses he could start.

While doing research, Young worked for his mother-in-law's business as a pilot car driver. He was the guy who drove a vehicle which warned of an oversized load.

"I thought about what type of business to go into. I asked myself, what does everybody need? Everyone needs food. So I started to look into what it would take." Young, said. "I got discouraged quickly but I went to the Wyoming Small Business Development Center website (SBDC), put in my info and five minutes later I got a call from James Drever. He asked what I was thinking, I told him a grocery store in Hanna and he asked to set up a meeting the next day. Jim really helped a lot."

After getting advice from Wyoming Small Business Development Center, the Youngs searched for financing.

"Wyoming does have a better climate for grocery stores than other states," Young said. "But it certainly isn't insta-rich."

It took him three years before he found a bank that would help. He went to five banks before Wyoming State Bank supported him.

"Persistence and dogged determination, plus having a supportive wife were key to getting this all pulled together." Young said.

"We were fortunate to get a person to put up assets for collateral to purchase the inventory needed."

He said about his wife Amelia, "She was always collaborative, but it turns out she has a mind for the bookwork needed to keep the business running. So Amelia does it all, which I am grateful."

Next came getting the building into shape for the public. The Youngs started in January of 2016 and it took until July before they could open.

"The building was a mess, but we had to have it clean– After all it is a grocery store," Young said.

"The community helped in many ways. The landlords were great too." Kyle ticked off examples. "Youth group painted, insurance company worked with us on payment schedules, our lawyer waited on his fees until we were established and John Pattie, the owner of Tan Dan Garbage in Hanna, held off charging us for a period of time."

After a year in operation, Young wanted to offer more services to Hanna. That was when he decided to open a hardware section in his store. Drummond Refrigeration and Appliances from Rawlins supplied washing machines, refrigerators and other appliances. Young has built up a loyal customer base and that is why he is always looking to bring more services to Hanna.

Mike Armstrong

"I have been in talks with Union Telephone about opening a branch here", there is interest, but at this point there is nothing firm."

Young is hoping to add a cafe in another part of the store and, if all goes well, an to house a hair stylist.

"The more I offer the town, the better it is for the customers and the better it is for me." Young said.

"The hardware stock I carry is for the jobs that need to be done fast, a quick fix," Young said The last thing you want to do is have to interrupt your job by going an hour to grab some small part."

Although the hardware section is new, Young has seen it do well.

The community is happy ,and so are he and his wife.

 

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