181 UPPER APPLEGATE ROAD, RUCH
Standing near a wall of drawers filled with nuts, bolts and other fasteners, and in reach of a selection of hand and power tools, paint supplies and general hardware items, Ruch Hardware owner Tiffany Ryan readily describes her business philosophy: “We do anything we can to make your life easier. That’s why we’re here.”
Tiffany opened Ruch Hardware in 2001, on property her family has owned since 1968. “I started it as a feed store,” she says. “But in 2008, the economy tanked. Many of our customers sold their animals. So I reinvented the business. I’d been moving toward hardware already. That pushed it along.”
After meeting with a representative from hardware distributor Orgill, Tiffany quickly visualized how to expand within her existing building. “I’d had four-foot high shelves throughout,” she says, breaking into her signature chuckle. “So I was able to expand up!” With taller shelves, items now are stacked to the ceiling.
Independent hardware stores are the largest segment of Orgill’s associates, which makes them a perfect fit. “Some distributors tell you what you have to stock,” Tiffany says. “I’m not really big on that. Orgill supports our philosophy of letting our customers suggest how we stock our store.
“We sell a lot of fasteners, plumbing items, and electrical supplies. Those are the most fun to sell,” she adds, “because no one wants to drive to town for an emergency thirty-nine cent PVC cap. It makes their day when they find it here.”
Although the store always carried a great selection of gardening supplies, the new crops developing in the region have led to the addition of “grow” items. “We carry soils, nutrients, propagation, and harvest supplies. Plus, many of our farmers take advantage of our pre-order discount. It’s been fun learning about this,” she says, followed by her infectious chuckle. “I guess I’m like the Levi Strauss of the green rush.”
Ruch Hardware also carries pet and livestock feeds, and in the spring, chicks and live plants. “We try to take care of visitors, too, with a selection of sporting goods and RV supplies,” Tiffany says. You will find a limited selection of lumber, concrete, and other building supplies. “The more we have, the more customers want. Expanding inventory is always on the list of things to do.” Aside from standard hardware fare, Tiffany also includes fun and unique items. “For Christmas I’ve stocked a nice tool kit for the ladies. The pink color should help make sure they don’t disappear in the garage.”
As visitors pull into the Ruch Hardware parking lot, they’re sure to notice a banner stating: “Your Friendly Savin’ a Trip to Town Store.” “That’s our motto,” Tiffany asserts. “That’s what we’re about.”