As president of The Oldest House Committee in Laceyville, Tony Deremer has a definite interest in local history.
Deremer and his wife Jeanne recently became part of that history with their purchase of the Laceyville Hardware store at 24 Main Street in Laceyville.
“We purchased it about three weeks ago,” Deremer explained.
The Deremers bought the hardware store from Shey Sterling, who had owned it since 2014. They also purchased the carpet store located in the same building, which Sterling had operated for the past five or six years.
What is now Laceyville Hardware has a rich history, going back to 1910 when it was established by Harvey Lacey as H.A. Lacey Hardware. Changing hands several times through the years, the store officially became Laceyville Hardware in 1940, and added the carpentry store in 1961.
A native of the area, Deremer explained that he worked for the local Intermediate Unit for 30 years, providing support services to various school districts.
“I felt it was time for a change,” Deremer said. “I wanted to try something else, and saw this (the hardware store) advertised, so I looked into it. After a couple of months, I decided it was something I was interested in.”
Deremer spoke to Brian and Donna Ace, who had previously owned Laceyville Hardware before Shey Sterling. They provided him with information about the hardware business, and he decided it was what he wanted to do.
“I own five rental properties in the area,” he said. “I went to Brian and Donna over the years whenever I needed to fix the plumbing or electrical. I know quite a bit about plumbing and electrical from by background in rentals, and that helped me decide to buy the store.”
Deremer explained that his wife Jeanne also owns and operates Jeanne’s Beauty Shop across from the Oldest House.
“She’s handling the American Greeting Cards, the gift ware, and the household appliances,” Deremer said. “She’s been ordering and getting that stuff in.”
One thing Laceyville Hardware will no longer be carrying are products from Do It Best Hardware. Shey Sterling had been part of the co-op, but Deremer said the company did not want to continue under his ownership. As a result, Laceyville Hardware is now an independent operation.
Deremer and his staff have been busy these last few weeks, restocking the shelves with new merchandise from a different supplier.
“We’ve been ordering from House-Hass, a family owned corporation out of Knoxville, Tenn.,” he said. “We’ll be carrying a wide variety of different brands.”
The community has been very supportive of the store as new stock comes in.
“This is something you can’t do overnight because it’s too much to physically handle,” he explained.
The store’s carpet and flooring business will also continue uninterrupted.
“Our biggest plan at this point is to get the inventory built back up,” he said. “We’ll be carrying unusual things that are tougher to get at other places - like Valspar Paint.”