ADDRESS: 400 SW 2nd Street, Corvallis, OR 97333
PHONE NUMBER: 541-753-5531
OWNERS: Tori and Scott Lockwood
WHAT THEY SELL: Hardware, tools, plumbing and electrical supplies
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 119 (in the family since 1893)
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Old-style character and service, hard-to-find hardware, and the widest selection of hardware fasteners in the area
Owned by the same family for six generations, Robnett’s Hardware is a community icon. Its diverse clientele includes contractors, men and women do-it-yourselfers, and students working on school projects. Owners Tori and Scott Lockwood are happy to help their customers get just what they’re looking for, even it if means doing extensive research to find exactly the right fastener or tool. They also take pride in the longevity of their business. “Most people know that Robnett’s has been here a long time,” says Scott. “But few know that it has the distinction of being Corvallis’s longest continuously operating business in the same location—since 1855!”
Tori, how did you get started? This is my family’s business so I’ve been working here since 1978, when I was 14 years old. Scott came to work here in 1995, after we got married. We bought the business from my parents about 10 years ago.
What makes Robnett’s special? Robnett’s is a service-oriented hardware store. In addition to sales, we provide many services, such as re-screening, cutting keys, and threading pipe. We have employees readily available to help our customers. And customers don’t have to walk a quarter-mile through the store to get what they need. Since we’re small, they can get in and out of here quickly.
Does your store fill an unusual niche? Robnett’s is most famous for our fastener selection – not just screws and bolts, but any item that holds things together. Our selection is great, and we’re able to help people get what they need. We special order items for people all the time—and we do a lot of research for our customers to help them get what they’re looking for.
What challenges have you faced as an independent business owner? We buy just for ourselves, so we don’t have the buying power of a large chain store. When Home Depot came to Corvallis, it was hard at first. We definitely felt the impact. But people came back.
What do you enjoy most about owning Robnett’s? We love helping people solve problems. And Scott and I (Tori) are lucky to be able to work together!
How many people do you employ? We have 6 employees, including 2 full-time and 3 part-time. My mom helps out, too.
What steps have you taken toward sustainability? We recently switched our lighting to T-8 (energy-efficient) fluorescent bulbs. And we do a lot of recycling. We’re a drop-off site for all kinds of used batteries—everything but car batteries. Our cardboard goes to Allied Waste, and we take our plastic and Styrofoam to the First Alternative Co-op Recycling Center.
Are there other ways you contribute to the community? We have a donation jar on our counter for Jackson Street Youth Shelter, and we donate a percentage of T-shirt sales to Jackson Street. We donate to a lot of different organizations in the community. And we’re members of CIBA.
(Article written July 2, 2012) The Local Business of the Week program is designed to help the Corvallis community identify our locally-owned independent businesses by featuring one business each week. The program is part of the Buy Local First campaign co-sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and the Corvallis Independent Business Alliance.