East Grand Forks
In the fall of 1990, Craig and Kay Buckalew moved their family of three sons (Brandon, Cody, & Matt) from northeastern Montana to open up a Hardware Hank store in East Grand Forks. They were a young family, Brandon in fourth grade, Cody in second grade, and Matt still a toddler. Throughout the years the store has had many changes.
It started out in the “White-mart mall” Where River Cinema is now located. In April of 1992, they had moved to the corner of Hwy 2 and 220 where the holiday gas station is now located. After the flood of ’97 Craig had borrowed an RV from a friend, parked it in the parking lot of the store, and after-hours posted a sign on the door that said, “If you need help come get me from the RV, no matter the time.” Hardware Hank moved to its current location in the early winter of ’99.
The last three years Craig and Kay’s oldest, Brandon, has been working in the store, growing into a position to one day take over the business. It’s a work in progress and it will be many years before Craig is ready to retire and Brandon is ready to take the reigns. Craig and Kay are very excited that one of their kids has taken an interest in the store. It’s the dream of many folks to have a child follow in their footsteps. Brandon is excited as well, saying, “They did the hard work of building the business to success. If I can at least maintain it, I’d be happier than working for someone else.”
In 1958 Andy and Chick Doda started D&B Home Furnishings. In the early '90s, their daughter Cindy got heavily involved with the business. It was at that time that it was decided to partner up with United Hardware and bring on the Hardware Hank Brand. From then on the store was about 1/3 hardware store and 2/3 furniture store. Cindy's husband, Darren, would do small engine repair in the back of the store in his free time.
April 1, 2014, the Buckalew family, who had been running a Hardware Hank store in East Grand Forks bought the store from Cindy. Their experience was in running a hardware store, not selling furniture so they converted the store into 100% hardware store. They expanded the selection of items in each category and department. They brought on Stihl power tools and Milwaukee power tools. Most importantly they hired local talent to run the store. They are working to be involved in the community as much as possible.
With having the store in East Grand Forks, it's become much easier to service the Crookston community. If one store doesn't have something on hand, we can bring it over from the other store and save our customers time in running back and forth.
The Buckalew's came into a close-knit community as outsiders with the intention of making Crookston proud to have them. So far they've felt very welcomed and that they have done a lot to provide products and services that the town needs. They will be quick to tell you that they couldn't have done it without their staff!