Rob and Shiloh Mannix are the new owners of Bolivar Hardware. The family, from left, Shiloh, Hailey, Dylan and Rob Mannix. (John Anderson photo)
By JOHN ANDERSON
There have been two trusted names when it comes to having a safe home in Bolivar and Richburg over the years, Sherwood and Morrison.
In Richburg, Bob Sherwood was the person everyone called for heating, remodeling a home, boilers and construction until his passing three years ago. Meanwhile in Bolivar at Bolivar Hardware at 323 Main St., Steve and Terrie Morrison ran a successful business with items local residents and contractors needed.
With Sherwood’s passing in Richburg and a “For Sale” sign in the window of the hardware store in Bolivar, it looked like two institutions would just be memories.
Until Sherwood’s daughter, Shiloh, drove past the store with her husband, Rob Mannix, and they saw the sign. Rob, who like many others, finished a long career (almost 20 years) at Dresser-Rand, went inside to talk to the Morrison’s.
Two weeks ago, the deal was done and the Mannix family now owns Bolivar Hardware. In addition to the inventory, long-time employees Joe Nolan and Dave Evans are still at the store. Terry Morrison comes in as well. The tradition continues.
But for the Sherwood family, it also continues the legacy of Bob Sherwood.
Shiloh worked with her father for years. Like a first responder, Bob Sherwood worked around the clock when residents in the Bolivar and Richburg area had issues with heating, hot water tanks and leaks. She is honored to be doing something her father would be proud of.
“He would have his own seat here, drinking coffee and loving every minute of it,” Shiloh said. “When we lost him, it really hit the area hard. We really miss him. There are a lot of people who miss him being around so I hope we can help the town the way he did.
I did construction with my dad for a long time, this is not new to me,” she continued. “I am more at home working here than other jobs I have been doing.”
It also helps to feel like home when the children are at the store, as Rob and Shiloh are joined by their kids, Hailey and Dylan.
Rob Mannix said, “We saw the sign in the window and it really lines up our plans for the future.”
He also wanted to see the Bolivar area continue to thrive.
“Steve and Terrie Morrison have done a ton for the community and we hope to continue on with what they have been doing,” Rob said. “I want to see my home base successful. It’s been fun, learning from Joe and Steve and Dave and Terrie, it’s been great.”
Rob has continued his education in the plumbing industry since leaving Dresser-Rand.
“Over the years I’ve done plumbing, construction … I enjoy working with my hands. I think this store has been good for the community and we want to keep it here,” he said. “Plumbing out-sells everything in this store, daily. We do sell a lot of paint, but we have a little bit of everything. We don;t move a lot of lumber, but I think that will change someday.
Going aisle-to-aisle, the inventory is the same quality of large stores and the products are items that can;t be picked up at a regular store.
“We have toilets, hot water tanks, plenty of salt, and a little bit of everything,” he added.
During a visit to see how the new owners and store looked, local legislators were impressed.
Deb Root, Allegany County District 3 Legislator has seven towns in her district. She said the hardware compliments all of the unique businesses in Allegany County.
“I think it’s always exciting when you can see a local business transfer and move into the future with new owners,” Root said. “When you come over to District 3 and Bolivar, I think it’s important to keep small businesses open. It’s important not only for the community and the residents, but for the economy.
“There are stores so many people have not heard about,” Root continued. “In the county, there are a lot of businesses you have to drive to and that’s who we are, it’s not just Main Streets in this county. I just went to Hess Deli in Andover. It was a beautiful drive and a destination. It’s not strip malls, all of these businesses are destinations.”
Allegany County District 3 Legislator Dwight Fanton said “I’m really glad they took it over. It’s a family thing again. It used to be a drug store and the past seven years it’s been a harsware. I’ve really looked their stuff over and they have a great selection here. Pretty much everything you want for plumbing and heating and woodworking. They have it all. It’s good to see a local hardware right here and you don’t have to drive somewhere to get what you need. I am sure it will be successful.
“Anytime we can keep a business here we are fortunate and I’m glad they were able to do this,” Fanton continued. “Over in Whitesville, the old Red & White is now a diner and they have great things and the Hotel is opening again over there. It’s great to see so many things opening and staying open, plus the people who are stepping up to do it. It’s very encouraging.”
Adam Cyr, who was just elected as a District 3 legislator, has a construction business and was also pleased to see Bolivar Hardware staying open.
“This place is amazing. It does have everything in it. Myself as a contractor, it saves me money by buying local and it’s keeping the tax dollars right in Bolivar and Allegany County, it’s great,” Cyr said. “I know Bolivar is a small town, but we have Sisson’s, a Cub Cadet dealer, restaurants, a grocery store, gas station, we have a lot of things, it’s pretty cool.”
Bolivar Hardware can be reached at 585-928-5109.