Best Hardware Store with a Grain Elevator - 2008
Valley Park Elevator & Hardware
Where can you get a new key cut, purchase pig chow, catch up on the local gossip and take a romp around a 132-year-old (and still serviceable) grain elevator? Valley Park Elevator & Hardware, that's where. Opened in 1876, it's an institution. Richard "Judge" Grellner bought the store back in 1976. He died this past April, but the Elevator & Hardware is still in the family: Grellner's son, Steven, and grandsons, Chris and Nathan, put in 80 hours a week to keep the place open. And a helluva job they do at it. The Grellners have done some merchandise updating over the years, and now offer things like doggie treats in addition to the hardware and feed. But relics of the past remain, like the 100-plus-year-old creaky hardwood floor, and the unbelievable attention paid to every customer. As Chris Grellner likes to say: "We're a miniature Home Depot with better service." Some things are much better left unchanged.