Get the facts behind some of the top workplaces in the Rochester area.
Olivia Lopez, Todd Clausen
The roots of Weiders Hardware stretch back, way back, to a time when the Civil War had only ended 14 years earlier.
It was in 1879 when Phillip Weider opened his horse-and-harness supply business on Spring Street in downtown Rochester. Flash forward to today, with Weiders Hardware stores in Honeoye Falls and Brighton.
Yeah, of course, a lot has changed since the beginning. Back when the business was founded, Rutherford B. Hayes was president and the United States consisted of only 38 states. Henry Ford’s Model T was still three decades in the future.
“It’s been 138 years, consecutive,” said Ned Green, who owns Weiders Hardware. There’s a lot of history here, so buckle up.
As might be expected, the business has moved quite a few times over the years. By the early 1900s, when hardware was added to the offerings, Weiders moved to State Street. From there, it was on to West Main Street, where the store remained for more than half a century before it was demolished for the Inner Loop project in 1967.
In 1961, Weiders opened a second location in Suburban Plaza on East Henrietta Road in Henrietta. Joanne Weider Lull ran the business then with her husband, Bob Lull. They were in charge from the 1950s to 1980s. Their son, Greg, came aboard and soon, too, so did Green.
“We helped his parents retire,” Green said. Once they did, Greg Lull and Green — who are brothers-in-law — ran Weiders Hardware as partners for 15 years. Greg Lull is no longer involved in the business.
The Honeoye Falls store opened in 1998. The Henrietta shop closed in 2005, and the Brighton store opened in a former Lilac Cleaners shop near Twelve Corners in 2011.
That brings us to today. Weiders remains relevant in the era of big-box competition, Green said, through its “specialty services,” like sharpening, window and screen repairs, key-and-lock service, handyman services and commercial sales to factories.
“The way we bring the product mix and services together sets us apart,” Green said. “We recognize that we’re not a Home Depot. But there’s a point in the market for what we do.”
More Small Business Spotlight features:
Ormec Systems’ client list … the Space Shuttle, Solo red cups, Corning
Small Business Spotlight: Monroe Electronics generates that emergency-alert noise
About a quarter of the sales volume comes from commercial and industrial “solutions” and the services provided, Green said. “Homeowners are still our bread and butter,” he added. The stores also sell paint and offer propane filling and rentals.
The Honeoye Falls store is the bigger of the two, at 10,000 square feet some five times larger than the Brighton version. Green’s wife, Lisa, worked for the business for 25 years and their two children also worked there in the past.
“I continue to work really hard at treating people the way I’d want to be treated,” Green said. “That’s very important … Many of my customers have my direct phone number. I love it when they call me and say, ‘Can you help me?’ ”
Chances are that he can. That’s the history of Weiders.
Alan Morrell is a Rochester-based freelance writer.
Locations: 166 W. Main St., Honeoye Falls and 1800 Monroe Ave., Brighton.
Executives: Ned Green, president and CEO.
Employees: 30 total.