St. Cloud, MN - Doug and Carol Severson, owners of Handyman's Inc. in St. Cloud, have been selected as the 2019 St. Cloud Area Small Business Owners of the Year. The award is presented annually by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce.
If you walk into Handyman's Hardware in east St. Cloud, the odds are good that owner Doug Severson will wait on you. Severson started working in the family business in 1976 when he was 15 years old. After graduating from St. Cloud State University with a finance degree in 1983 he joined the store full time, taking over the leadership role in 1993. Since that time, Doug and Carol have doubled the number of employees, doubled the size of the sales floor, and doubled sales.
Staying local and still being competitive is an on-going challenge for the Seversons. As an independent retailer they have no corporate or franchise support to create an online presence or point-of-purchase software for their hundreds of products. And they don't have a multi-million-dollar advertising budget.
Instead, all advertising and outside sales are handled by staff, which the Seversons believe is their greatest competitive advantage. The personal touch creates loyalty among customers. And they are able to carry products that the typical hardware store does not have available, allowing for quick response for customers who often need just the right part with little or no warning.
Maintaining the "local hardware store" feel is critical to the Seversons. "We could get rid of the store front and focus on commercial," Carol Severson said, "but we love working with our customers and having that hometown feel."
Doug and Carol would like to congratulate the two other businesses receiving awards this year. Jeff and Steve Mies, owners of Mies Outland, the 2019 Business Central Mark of Excellence: Family Owned Business; and Brenda Eisenschenk, owner of inteleCONNECT, Inc., the 2019 Woman in Business Champion. They would also like to thank St. Cloud and the surround communities for their support of family owned businesses over the last 53 years.
Award winners will be honored at the 2019 St. Cloud Area Business Awards Luncheon on April 30 at the Holiday Inn and Suites from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. The luncheon is open to the public and reservations can be made by calling the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce at 320-656-3826 or online at StCloudAreaChamber.com.