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By LuAnn Schindler
Publisher 

Cheatums purchase long-time Orchard business

 

January 23, 2020

LuAnn Schindler

Hometown support • Orchard residents Tammy and Glen Cheatum purchased Corner Hardware, in Orchard, Jan. 11. A new name for the business is in the works.

Corner Hardware, a long-time staple among Orchard businesses, is under new ownership.

On Jan. 11, Glen and Tammy Cheatum, of Orchard, completed the purchase from Cliff and Shirley Erb, who operated the business for more than 50 years.

It was business as usual on Jan. 13, when the Cheatums opened the doors as the owners.

For now, the Cheatums plan to keep their current jobs. Tammy works as a staff developer for ESU 8; Glen farms.

That did not stop the couple from taking a leap of faith.

"I've been wanting to do this for the last four years. It excited me, thinking of different things we could do. I didn't want to see it close," Tammy said.

The thought of a town without a hardware store weighed on the Cheatums' minds. What would happen if the business shuttered?

"It would've meant a lot of trips to Neligh or O'Neill," Glen noted.

The store is a time-saver in a go-go world.

Glen admitted he was a little more reserved about making the purchase.

"We are going to have to hire some help, so it's going to take a little more income to be able to hire people to run it," he said. "We had to make a decision to either do it now or maybe not have a chance to get it," Glen said.

Building relationships with customers and having items available that shoppers need are primary goals the Cheatums have set for the store.

The business, located at 250 East Second Street, features traditional hardware items, greeting cards and household wares.

Tammy envisions expanding the giftware section to include picture frames, signs and decorative clocks.

"We're hoping to get some of the stuff people would come in and get for a quick birthday gift or shower gift or wedding gift," Glen said.

Valentine's Day gift items currently are on display at the front of the store.

The Cheatums are open to suggestions that customers would like to see stocked in the store.

"We're talking to people to see what they would come in and buy that we don't have, find out the public's needs and carry it," Glen said.

Special monthly promotions are in the works.

"We're in a learning process. I know what I always liked to buy in here and Cliff always had it," Glen said.

They are toying with hours of operation, based on store traffic. Right now, they are considering 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., weekdays and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

"We're always available by phone. We'll always come down, any time of day or night," Glen noted.

The candy kitchen and it's delectable fudge will remain a cornerstone of the business.

Tammy said she was surprised by the number of people in the region who did not know about Orchard's sweet shop.

"It's definitely unique," she said.

They would like to expand social media marketing.

One of the first changes will be the addition of a debit card machine.

"We want to make that available to people and if we need to ship something, they can call or if they want fudge delivered somewhere, we can take their card and get it shipped or delivered," Tammy said.

On Saturday, family and friends gathered at the store to assist with updates.

Old wall coverings were removed, a fresh coat of paint applied and end caps stocked.

"I want to get in there gung ho, but we'll have to do things slowly," Tammy said.

After a week in business, the Cheatums said community reaction has been positive.

Glen said, "We've had a lot of compliments. The main thing, people come in and say they're glad this place didn't close."

"We want to be a one-stop shop," Tammy said.

 

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