‘Hometown goodness’

Published 7:01 pm Friday, March 22, 2019

Edwards Hardware named Business of 2018

Fourth generation now involved in store operations


At 108 years old, Edwards True Value Hardware is still looking strong. The Courtland-based family business has weathered difficult times as well as enjoyed prosperous ones since opening on Sept. 1, 1911. On Thursday, March 21, 2019, the Franklin-Southampton area Chamber of Commerce presented the owners with the 2018 Business of the Year Award. The program took place in the Cypress Cove Country Club.

Southampton County Administrator Mike Johnson said it was an honor for him to deliver the award to the family, represented by Bob Edwards. His wife, Lisa, children, Paul Edwards and Madison Berryman, sat nearby with other family and employees.

Johnson pointed out that the criteria for being honored thus is to be in business at least three years, which drew understandable laughter from all. Further, there’s been expansion and innovation, and the families have “made the right business decisions.”

The “ability to understand and meet customers’ needs, another criteria for the honor, has also been met. From nuts and bolts to dog collars and fishing licenses and paint, “if it’s available, you’ll find it at Edwards Hardware,” said Johnson. He praised the company’s “impeccable customer service” and how it has “defied the odds by hard work and ingenuity … Edwards embodies all that’s good in small-town America.”

Bob Edwards, after accepting the award, received also a resolution from the Virginia House of Delegates. Emily Brewer (R-64) gave him that formal document.

For himself, Edwards said, “I couldn’t have been more surprised” when told about the honor. “Total shock,” he added. The third generation leader said that as a young boy he was involved in working at the store. After graduating in 1979, he returned to the business, thinking to stay “a few years and get some experience.”

“I’m still getting experience,” he added with a smile.

Other reminiscences included when both Walmart and Lowe’s came to the area, and how could the store compete.

“It’s not always been a piece of cake,” said Edwards. “We kept our heads down and kept digging.”

Naturally, all involved with the company — employees and family alike — were thanked. He noted that daughter Madison stepped up to learn office management duties.

“To each and every one of you, this means a lot to me and family and my father [Hank],” said Edwards.

At left, Kim Marks presents the gavel to Meghan D. Councill, who is now the new president of the Franklin-Southampton Chamber of Commerce. Stephen H. Cowles | Tidewater News

Following this, Meghan D. Councill received the gavel of the chamber presidency from her predecessor, Kim Marks.

“I’m impressed with the resilience of the past honorees,” said Councill in her remarks. “We value our roots while also going further. Tonight’s all about ‘hometown goodness.’ We should celebrate the assets and momentum.”