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Hepler's Hardware celebrates 75 years; plans to replace its 1950s structure

| Thursday, April 20, 2017, 11:00 p.m.
Owners Robert G. Hepler and his children Robert S. Hepler and Megan (Hepler) Orient
Aerial photograph, circa 1960, before current building was constructed.

Hepler's Hardware in New Stanton plans to replace a 1950s building that an antique store rents with a modern structure that will also house a coffee shop.

The family business marking its 75th year also is in talks to bring a semi-permanent farmers' market — “more than a fruit stand” — to the upper end of the complex off Route 119 North, said Robert S. Hepler, who with his sister Megan Orient recently became a fourth-generation leader at Hepler's.

“There is a real trend in different communities where you see a blend of Saturday farmers' markets that complement businesses,” Hepler said.

The hardware business will mark the start of construction on Saturday, in conjunction with an open house event. The current building dates to 1959 and decades ago was the Garden Center Restaurant. It will be torn down, and the new structure is expected to be complete by fall.

Jack Herbert has merchandise at his New Stanton Antique Co-op marked half-off and will move his 27-year-old business to a building he owns next door until the new structure is complete.

“The Heplers are very fine, nice people. We opened it (antique store) with a handshake, and it's still that way,” Herbert said. He carries his own stock, plus items from four other dealers.

The businesses complement each other, he said. Customers sometimes “need something to fix an item with, and Hepler's has been there so long that they have older stock,” he said.

“Both (businesses) have a retail base so there is shared foot traffic, especially with folks interested in old things and working on them,” Megan Orient said.

Hepler's store has 11,000 square feet of hardware space, plus a small-engine repair shop, said Robert G. Hepler, who just passed on the business to his son and daughter.

There are about 12 employees.

Hepler's started as a feed store in 1942 in Youngwood. Later, the family purchased the 19th century Stanton family mill on Sewickley Creek and relocated there.

The hardware store and Stanton Milling today are the two ongoing divisions of Hepler's Town & Country Enterprises, the parent corporation. Robert S. Hepler and Megan Orient now are the majority owners.

While the Stanton mill is gone, the business has a flour room where some buckwheat pancake mix and flour are bagged on site, Robert S. Hepler said. The products also are packaged in Rhode Island, and distributed in several states, family members said.

Tribune-Review staff writer Kim Leonard can be reached at 724-226-4674, or @KimLeonardTrib.

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