NEIGHBOR PROFILE


 
 
Bob Strawn
 

 Meet Bob Strawn, “Mr. Elberta Hardware”

Anyone who has ever shopped in a “real” hardware store knows that there is no limit to what you can find as you stroll up and down the aisles of a local hardware store, and usually find something that you just can’t live without, even if it’s something that you weren’t looking for!

Bob takes great pride in his current business venture, and you will not be surprised to hear or see his famous marketing pitch….”Come on over to Elberta Hardware, the biggest, friendliest little hardware store in South Alabama!”  And, as extensive a product offering as Elberta Hardware sells, Bob’s business background is equally diverse.

A native of Oklahoma, Bob, the oldest of 5 children, was drawn to agriculture at an early age. His membership in the National 4H Foundation introduced him to the dairy industry, and he worked on projects with dairy cattle, and a high school project led to the top award in the National Dairy Achievement contest.   Those activities led to projects in poultry, winning the State championship TRIO chicken award.  These projects and accomplishments were strong influences in Bob’s future business development.

Upon graduation from high school, Bob enrolled at the Merchant Marine Academy in New York, which led him to the military, where he served in World War II as 3rd Officer in both thePacific and Atlantic campaigns.  In 1942, he was discharged from the U. S. Coast Guard, and moved to Boulder, CO

Bob and his wife, Vivian, raised 4 children, which led him to a volunteer role for 18 years with a local youth foundation, where he focused on horsemanship and showmanship.  While in Boulder, Bob worked as a mechanical engineer, and built a business manufacturing vaporizers and combustion equipment.   He sold that business, and purchased an RV dealership in Denver.

His business ventures in Denver led him to a partnership with 3 entrepreneurs, who incorporated a state bank to serve the local community.  Vivian passed away in 1982, and Bob remarried in 1984 to Nadine Maloney.   In 1986 Bob was elected President of the National Recreation Vehicle Dealer Association.  He and Nadine moved to Fairfax, VA., where he served in that position for 10 years.  He retired from the Association in 1996, and moved to Elberta.

With no challenges to keep him busy, he bought Elberta Hardware and Plumbing in 1998.  In 2006, following back surgery, he sold the business to his son, Rob, and Rob and his wife, Shirley, moved from Denver to Elberta.   Bob remained active in the business, and Nadine and Shirley managed the hardware side of the business, while Rob developed their heavy equipment product line, with a specialty product line of home/business generators.  With significant growth plans, they bought 3 acres, an existing building on the east side and added new buildings to accommodate sales and service of yard equipment, rental equipment, and expanded product line.  Nadine has been an integral part of the success of the business, bringing valuable computer and accounting skills and strong business development vision to the growth and expansion of the business.  Bob is very proud of Nadine’s contributions and grateful for her business acumen and knowledge.

Bob is extremely proud to serve the south Baldwin market, and thankful for the support and customer service  provided by his family and team of 6 dedicated employees.  As a member of the Josephine Volunteer Fire Department Board of Directors, he used his industry knowledge to assist with the “antique” equipment in use at that time.

Bob is a true asset to the Josephine community.  When you are visiting the metropolis of Elberta, stop in at Elberta Hardware to say Hi!  You will get a warm welcome at “the biggest, friendliest little hardware store in South Alabama!”

 

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