Haveman Hardware won the "I Love My Hardware Store" contest created by a website.
FREMONT, Mich. (WZZM) - A website dedicated to the hardware industry says Haveman Hardware in Fremont is one of the best in America.
"When they called me and said the store won the contest, of course I was shocked and surprised," laughs store co-owner Diane Stehouwer.
The website "Planet Do It Yourself" has awarded Haveman Hardware their "I Love My Hardware Store" prize, based on information provided by customers.
"They said almost 50 people told some really nice things about the store," says Stehouwer.
"My dad came to this hardware [store] and now I come to this hardware [store]," says customer Bob Spurgeon. "At Walmart or Meijer, you might get [products for] a couple dollars cheaper, but you don't get the camaraderie and friendship."
Diane and her husband Bob Stehouwer are the third generation of Havemans to own the hardware store.
"When my dad started this [business], he had $1,800 to buy the building," recalls Diane's 90-year-old father, Gary Haveman. "Then he had $800 left for stock. That's how this started."
Haveman took over the business for his father, George. His daughter Diane and her husband then took over for Gary.
"We got to dating and I found out her dad owned a hardware store,' jokes Bob Stehouwer. "That's always been right up my alley, fixing things."
The Stehouwers added a crafts department and have merchandise that appeals to both men and women of all ages.
They say none of their children are interested in the business, so they are probably the last members of the Haveman family to own the hardware store.
"Both of our children live near Washington, DC and make a lot more money that we do," explains Diane.
"I never had any money cause I stuck it all into the store," says her father, Gary. "I never hardly had any money but I had a good life. A wonderful life."