One of New Paltz’s handiest stores is celebrating a special birthday this year — True Value on Cherry Hill Road has turned 13. Back in 1999, on Oct. 1, the hardware store first opened its doors to locals looking for paint, hammers, nails, fittings and just about everything else.
“We have a solid core of employees that have been with us for a number of years,” explained Eileen Hedley, the store manager — who has been there from the beginning. “Over these past 13 years, we’ve all learned to work really well together. We’re all local people, and we have just a really good vested interest in the business — and a huge dedication to customer service.”
For perspective, the shop opened during the latter years of President Bill Clinton’s second term. The euro currency had only months before replaced deutsche marks, francs, liras and other time-honored forms of European cash. “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” was still brand new — and hosted by Regis Philbin — and Microsoft was about one month away from being deemed a monopoly.
True Value stores share an internationally known brand name, but they’re independently owned. Franchisees — like New Paltz store owner Louis Benson — rely on company headquarters as a cooperative for bulk purchasing power. But for many True Values, the emphasis has remained on keeping things local.
“It’s just a joy for us to work here — and in this community,” Hedley said. “We still have the dedication of a locally owned store and locally minded owner. The money that is spent in this store mostly remains locally, as opposed to a big-box store.”
New Paltz True Value is also competing for sales with big-box stores and Internet sales.
“It’s not to say it’s not a challenge, because it is. But what we offer is we have convenience. We always have a human to interact with that has a really good idea of how to direct you or give you the answer you need right away,” she said. “It’s the ease of finding things. It’s not as overwhelming when you shop at a smaller store.”
The hardware store also does some work that might surprise people — including repairing lights, lamps and windows. “We do a lot of special orders. We do free, local deliveries.”
Hedley noted that the store tries to foster a safe atmosphere where people can admit that they don’t know what a grommet is, much less where it might be on the shelves.
“I help constant customers that have no idea what to call the thing that they’re looking for — and they can be embarrassed,” she said. “We’re here to do that for you. We’re here to help with any person in any situation.”
Check out the shop in person by heading to 4 Cherry Hill Road. Their hours are 7:30 a.m. till 7 p.m. from Monday to Saturday, and they have Sunday hours from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
For more about the shop, call them at 255-8481 or check out their website at https://ww3.truevalue.com/newpaltz/Home.aspx.