Essential Small Business Spotlight: Branneky True Value Hardware

Cashier Megan Weeks wears protective gloves to help protect herself and the customers from the COVID-19 while she checks people out at Branneky Hardware.

Ava Woods, Contributing Writer and Photographer

Due to COVID-19, a minority of small businesses stay open because they are deemed essential to the community, but how are they truly affected by this pandemic? One store that stays open during this pandemic is Branneky True Value Hardware.
Branneky is a family-owned store that started in 1857 that has provided home essentials and friendly customer service for five generations. During this pandemic, Branneky True Value Hardware provides essential items like masks, toilet paper, gloves, paper towels, and disinfectant sprays that are now highly demanded by the public.
With this pandemic, the store environment has changed. For one, by staying open, the employees are putting themselves at risk.
Manager Heidi Perkins explained, “Because we are an essential business, we are putting ourselves at risk.” By staying open to the public, all of the employees and customers that come in run the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19.
Store owners Tim and Jeff Branneky have both agreed that there are no benefits to a pandemic. Jeff Branneky has stated, “We (as a retailer that supplies goods to consumers) try our best as front line workers to stay open and stocked with all the essential needs of homeowners.”
With this pandemic, employees put themselves at risk, the store has to pay a higher cost for supplies and shipping, and also Branneky True Value still has to be competitive with other hardware stores.
Because of the stay-at-home order, most people have had a lot of time on their hands to get home projects done, which brings in more business to Branneky Hardware. Cashiers and salesmen have also seen a change in their customers’ calm and happy demeanor. Salesman Mason Price and cashier Gabby Zarinelli have both agreed that customers seem more panicked. The customers either try to get their hands on any and all cleaning supplies or get a start on home projects they suddenly have the time to do.
In an effort to keep the environment as safe as possible, the store has also made a few changes. They have installed plexiglass barriers at checkout, put six feet tape markers on the floors, offered employees masks and gloves, posted signs throughout the store to stay six feet away from other people, and shortened store hours. The new hours changed to seven a.m. to six p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and ten a.m. to four p.m. on Sundays.
Overall, the business has adjusted and adapted every week, depending on how busy it is. Every worker at Branneky True Value Hardware is grateful that the store gets to stay open and help provide the community with vital items that they need with friendly customer service.