DIXFIELD — The secret to business success and longevity?
Hard work, commitment to service, adaptability to change and fair prices.
Towle's Hardware & Lumber Store has embraced those qualities for 100 years since its founding in 1911, said Norman "Butch" Towle, 70, the store's owner and manager.
The store will celebrate its 100th anniversary with a weeklong celebration June 6-11.
The town has seen considerable change years over the past 100 years, Towle said.
"The town had a number of farms and dairy farms back then," Towle said. His grandfather, Charles Towle, was a Dixfield sawmill owner who opened the store in 1911.
"The town had a lot more stores in years past, such as a clothing store and drugstore," Towle said. "Now most of them have gone."
Towle credits the success and longevity of the hardware store to things his family has stressed from the beginning.
"I believe a strong work ethic, innovation, creativity and adaptability, selling quality products at a fair price and adding extra service to the sale is a big part of succeeding in any job and in life," he said.
"I think the longevity of this store is due to the commitment of the Towle family to the community," said Donna Towle, Butch's wife of 30 years. "We are pretty partial to Dixfield and keep the store very neat and clean."
Complementing the store's cleanliness is the relative newness of the 6,000-square-foot store, which was finished in 2008 to replace the old two-story wooden Towle's Hardware Store which stands just several feet from its replacement.
Customer service and product knowledge are other strengths of the store.
Towle's senior salesman, Eddie Ellis, has worked at the store for the past 40 years. The other members of the Towle's staff include James Gromeweld, Tracy Briggs and Luke "the youngster" Vining.
"Being a smaller and locally owned community hardware store, we can adapt to the customer needs and get them the products they need faster than the bigger box-chain stores," Butch Towle said. "One of my biggest highlights was when we got a forklift for the business, during the early 1980s, complete with a bucket loader and attachable forks."
Towle's weeklong birthday party begins Monday, June 6, with a recognition ceremony and a plaque awarded to the store by Dixfield town officials and True Value executives.
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