Colton and Danielle Hallgren, owners of Osage Hardware were recently honored among the independent home improvement industry’s 2021 Young Retailer of the Year by the North American Hardware and Paint Association. The Young Retailer of the Year program identifies and promotes the next generation of aspiring independent home improvement, paint and decorating retailers, age 35 and younger throughout the U.S. and Canada. The award normally only recognizes an individual; however, Colton and Danielle were recognized as a couple for the award.
Colton and Danielle both grew up in Osage City. During high school, Colton worked for Willie and Mary Sue Atchison, then owners of Osage Hardware. After high school, Colton served in the Marine Corps, the couple got married and were stationed in California for four years. Upon finishing his career with the Marine Corps, they decided to move back to Osage City in 2016. Willie jokingly told Colton he would sell him the store and his home and they would retire. After two years of learning the business, they saved enough money to make a down payment and bought Osage Hardware in September 2018.
They have made their business a family-oriented staple of the community. Their sons, ages 3 and 5 come to the store every day and also the family dog, Sadie is the store mascot.
During their first years, they have made many updates to the interior of the store and have made a garden center in the adjacent vacant lot. The space has allowed them to offer an expanded selection of live plants, trees, mulch, bagged soil, outdoor furniture and décor, grills and more. Danielle has also started a community farmer’s market.
The Hallgrens have seen a 12 percent increase in sales their first year in business and a 41 percent increase during their second year. They continue to introduce new product lines and continue to add inventory. In 2020, they were recognized as an Emerging Business of the Year by the Kansas Small Business Development Center. They have achieved success and establishing their store without the benefit of a formal business education. Initially, after working and learning from the former store owners for two years, they have taken advantage of seminars on marketing, merchandising and sales as well as doing research and learning many of the basics of hardware retailing. Danielle has future plans to increase the store’s social media marketing efforts and store merchandising.
They take great pride in serving their community. Danielle coaches gymnastics with the local Parks and Recreation program and Colton currently is a volunteer firefighter. They are members of the Osage City Chamber of Commerce and volunteer their time serving the community through various local events hosted at their store, including hands-on children’s activities for Mother’s Day, the annual Christmas on Market event and they also host local second graders each year for an educational program on small business.
Recently, they donated a Blackstone grill to a silent auction, which helped raise funds to cover a local man’s medical bills after he developed a brain tumor. They continually find ways to give back to the community and help those who are struggling.
According to the Executive Director for NHPA, being chosen as a “Young Retailer of the Year” is a high honor and Colton and Danielle exemplify the determination and innovation that keeps the manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers industry growing.