ASHLAND C.C. Gibbs takes great pride in his family business.
His store, now called Gibbs’ True Value, has been a part of Ashland dating back to the 1940s. That was when Gibbs’ grandfather started the business across the street from the current location at 1000 13th St. where he had food stands and sold hardware.
It wasn’t until 2013 that Gibbs and his wife took on ownership of the store from Gibb’s uncle Jim.
“At that point the business was kind of rundown and was on its last leg in some aspects,” said Gibbs.
Being around the store all his life, the concept of owning a hardware store wasn’t a foreign concept. At the age of 15 he became an employee where he grew to open and close the store. He continued his position until he was 18 when he went into construction.
However, owning the business was still something he didn’t think would happen.
“Six years ago I would never dreamed that I would have two (businesses),” said Gibbs, referring to the business’ other location in Grayson.
He added that he has a lot of pride in being able to keep the businesses going for so long, carrying on his family’s legacy. He hopes to see a fourth generation take on the store one day with his own children.
When it comes to running the store, Gibbs said his favorite part of the job is getting to know those within the community. He also likes helping customers with their problems, noting that it’s satisfying.
“I love whenever I’ve got somebody that thinks it’s (a problem) going to be a real pain or expensive or something, that they think it is going to be so hard, and I can figure out a way to make it cheap and easy to fix so it’s not as tough as they thought it was going to be. I love that part,” he said.
The most popular items that customers purchase are plumbing supplies and nuts and bolts. Gibbs said the store has the largest private nuts and bolts section for a private store in Kentucky.
The store also has a niche — fireplaces. He explained local businesses typically have to offer niche products to separate themselves from larger corporations.
Gibbs also said he does not worry about competition from other box stores like Lowe’s since they are a home center and his business is a retail hardware store.
“We are two different peas in a pod,” he said.
He touched on the employees at the store, calling them family. When it comes to hiring new workers, he said he likes to employ those at the high school age due to the lifelong lessons they can learn on the job.
“There’s not a better job for a teenager or a young person to be in than a hardware store because they learn every department: yard, garden, electric, plumbing, you name it … They’ll take more out of this for the rest of their life than they will flipping burgers or waiting on a table,” he said.
In 2015 the store got a makeover at the same location. The old building was then tore down.
“We’re doing very well here,” he said.
Gibbs said that he is considering expanding Gibbs True Value by opening up a third store in 2017.
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