John Reddin said he’s right where he belongs as manager of Bomgaars, the store that took over the old Ace Hardware property at 4104 Jefferson St. in Wellington on July 1 and held their grand opening on October 2.
In addition to growing up on a cotton and milo maize farm outside Abilene in west Texas, Reddin has over 30 years experience in the retail business. He has managed the Ace Hardware Store in Eaton, and for the last four years managed Bomgaars in Loveland.
He’s proud to be part or an organization whose history goes back to the time when 18-year-old William Bomgaar sold gingham from the bolt and crackers from a barrel at a general store in Middleburg, Iowa. He also stocked a horse-drawn wagon with the needs of rural farm families and took his wares on the road.
In 1931, Bomgaar borrowed $125, bought a Model A Ford and, with a beginning inventory purchased on credit for another $125, set out to build a territory of his own, peddling his wares out of his vehicle.
During the Depression years growth was slow, but by 1934 Bomgaar was eating three meals a day. By 1944, his business had grown enough to move into a downtown location in Sioux City, Iowa and support two employees; his sister Ann manned the office and brother Gerald was the on-the-road salesman.
William’s son Harold graduated from the University of Iowa in 1947 and joined the family business in sales. Five years later Harold instituted a Mid-states buying group for fleet sales to farmers and ranchers. In addition to the fleet business, many new product lines were added making necessary a move to larger quarters in 1955.
The first branch store opened in Yankton, South Dakota in 1956. Today there are 67 Bomgaar stores, the newest in Wellington. Today Roger and Jane Bomgaar and their son Aaron run the business. They make it a point to visit all their stores twice a year. Other Colorado stores are in Loveland, Brighton and Sterling.
Bomgaars serves the needs of suburban and agricultural customers with 50,000 items in 10 departments including lawn and garden, nursery, mens’ and womens’ work and fashion wear, footwear, farm and ranch supplies, livestock and pet feed, hardware, tools, housewares and toys.
The store prides itself on a seasonal emphasis, rebuilding half the store in the spring and fall to accommodate customers’ changing needs. “Wood pellets for stoves have been the biggest seller recently,” Reddin said.
While the interior of the store is well-stocked, Reddin explained that there’s more to be done in the parking lot. There will soon be a display of livestock handling equipment and feeders in that area.
Reddin is right at home in Wellington operating a store to which he has a sincere commitment. “This is a fun job,” he said.