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Tom Schanken, sixth generation owner of Morris Hardware in McConnelsville, Ohio

Business of Excellence – Morris Hardware

by | May 13, 2024

Historic Business Choses Paladin to Modernize its Retail Processes

History means a lot to the folks at Morris Hardware. For roughly 178 years, the store has provided the residents of Morgan County, Ohio with everything they need to take care of their homes, farms and businesses. Throughout all those years, they did it all by hand – taking inventory, ordering products, writing sales receipts, and doing the books. When it was time to modernize the store, Morris Hardware chose Paladin Point of Sale.

Vintage photo of Morris Hardware in the 1800s

Morris Hardware was opened in 1845 as a tinsmith shop. Today, it is a mainstay in McConnelsville, Ohio.

“We had no point of sale,” says Shayna Roberts, part owner of the business, a quintessential family-owned hardware store – the oldest in Ohio and sixth oldest in the country. “We were manual for almost 178 years. Pen and paper.”

Shayna partners with Tom Schanken, a sixth-generation descendant of George Morris who founded the business in 1845 as a tinsmith shop. It later moved to its current site into a building which Morris and his sons built on Main Street in McConnelsville. The store still has the original pressed tin ceiling George created when he built the building.

The corner store has slowly taken over more and more of the historic building know for generations as the “Morris Block.”  It’s filled with just about everything a resident of the Mid-Ohio Valley might need for a DIY or construction project. Shayna calls it “a maze of hardware.”

“We’re big for a small store. We have 7,000 square feet of retail space and we utilize every corner of it,” she says. “I think that’s part of the charm. I think we’re one of the last refuges of a small-town hardware store.”

It’s close to an hour’s drive to the closest big-box store, so Morris Hardware has very loyal customers and its 14-person staff works hard to serve the 15,000 people of Morgan County, Ohio. The store regularly hosts events such as a Ladies Night, art shows, and string concerts.

“Ladies night is our biggest and longest-running event. It’s a way to get that demographic more comfortable in a hardware store. It’s basically turned out to be a big Christmas party. We try to not go for the classic sales approach,” she says.

To better serve their customers, track their sales, and eventually improve their inventory management, Shayna enlisted the help of Paladin and Orgill Hardware. She said she chose both providers because they mirrored her business’s personality.

“Knowledgeable service that comes from six generations – I think that’s part of the charm of the store. I liked the family legacy of Orgill and feel of both Orgill and Paladin.”

Shayna Roberts

Co-Owner, Morris Hardware

“Paladin has a very easy user interface which is important to us. Half my guys here are retired and not real tech savvy. Paladin is really easy for them to pick up and operate. I’m a millennial and I have a guy who is a tech wiz, so setting it up wasn’t hard and we picked it up right away.

From left, John Houser, Shayna Roberts and Tom Schanken.

From left, John Houser, Shayna Roberts and Tom Schanken.

“I have one guy, when we were still in training-mode, he’d come in early and work on it. He made an effort to get good at it and it didn’t take long for him to get it.”

Like breaking in a new pair of boots, the store is gradually working its way into using its new retail technology. All sales go through Paladin Point of Sale. Paladin’s integration with Orgill EDI makes ordering and receiving products fast and easy.

The store still has a dedicated accountant who works it by hand, but Shayna says Paladin’s push-of-a-button downloads for daily transactions have already simplified that process. She plans to automate almost everything else as the store moves forward with its plans. She says the store has been operating for close to 200 years without a great deal of technology, so she says there’s no rush to get everything done all at once.

Shayna appreciates how Paladin worked closely with her to both set up its system and convert her store to Orgill. She likes Paladin’s hand-on approach to setup and support.

“People make the difference. I don’t want to live in an automated world where all I hear are robots. If I have a problem, I want to call and talk to somebody. Paladin provides that. Everybody is so thoughtful, caring and helpful. Looking back, it was something I’d do again.”

Shayna Roberts

Co-Owner, Morris Hardware

Images of Morris Hardware circas 1845 and 2023

Then and now. Times have changed at Morris Hardware. Images of the store circas 1845 and 2023.

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