CENTERVILLE, Iowa- The Iowa Small Business Development Center has recognized a business here as the 2017 Neal Smith Entrepreneur of the Year Award winner.
Steve and Leona Fogle have run the Fogle True Value Hardware Store for several years after buying it from the previous owners. Last fall the couple moved the business into the former Walmart store on the north end of town.
“It did surprise us because we're just a married couple trying to make a living running a hardware store and never thought that we would even be up for an award,” said Steve Fogle. “We have done a lot of business with the previous owner so we kind of had an understanding of what the business was, and we thought it was a good fit for us.”
Leona Fogle said the couple got the call recently one morning in their store’s office.
The store has filled the space with its own products, including tools lawnmowers, and items for the home, including appliances.
Two other stores are also leasing space in the store: a gun shop and a furniture store. Both businesses are owned by friends of the Fogles.
“The community has had a good response, we hope to make it last and hopefully see other businesses work together and continue to grow,” said Leona. “Some other businesses now that are coinciding, if that's what it takes to help small businesses grow, I think that's a great thing.”
Appanoose Development Corp. had purchased the former Walmart on auction, while looking for a new business to take the spot.
“Walmart built a new building down south of here, a little larger and it's actually the highest grossing retailer for Walmart in the region, it’s been very very good for Centerville,” said Centerville Mayor Neal MacArthur. “The building was vacant about a year and a half we had three or four businesses which looked at it, but Steve's business was the best one of the bunch.”
“We are honored to have clients who have worked diligently to move their businesses forward while showing a strong commitment to their communities and customers,” said Lisa Shimkat, State Director of America’s Small Business Development Center in Iowa. "We are delighted to be able to recognize their hard work and success with these awards.”
The Fogles will be formally presented the award on March 14th at the State Capitol in Des Moines.