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How century-old Dunn Hardware thrives in an Amazon world: Independents Week

| Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Jul 6, 2017 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

Cleveland Plain Dealer – July 6, 2017

Written by Janet Cho

RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio – Janet Harris came in to Dunn Hardware carrying her dog, Snowball, and a shattered window frame.

“Don’t tell me this little guy had anything to do with that window,” said store owner Jamie Stadlin, scratching Snowball’s fluffy white head.

“Naw, I had to break the window to get into the house, because we locked ourselves out,” Harris explained. She drove in from Mayfield Heights, because “at Home Depot, you’ve got to walk around the entire store looking for somebody to help you.”

“And they don’t fix windows,” Jamie’s wife, Abby, said.

Fortunately for Harris, Dunn Hardware in Richmond Heights does. As Jamie Stadlin looked at her window, Harris told them about her new favorite pizza shop. It opened six months ago but has already closed for lack of business. …

Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and author of Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America’s Independent Businesses, said: “Only time will tell, but I think there are signs that independents could weather the storm somewhat better than the big chains.”

“They certainly have things going for them that the chains don’t: their love for what they do, their connection to place, and they’re ability to make their stores about community and experience,” she said. “Independent restaurants are growing faster than chains, indie bookstores are popping up in more places, local food markets are on the rise, and independent hardware stores are outpacing the big boxes in revenue growth. This is the good news.”

“There are big challenges too, though, and the biggest by far is Amazon,” Mitchell said. “The independents have some things going for them, but it’s tough when one company is rapidly gaining control over e-commerce, and more people are doing more of their shopping on its platform.”

“One thing people can do is look at their current spending and think about where they can reasonably shop local instead,” she said.

Read the full story here.