ST. CLOUD -- Starting out in the family company in 1976, Doug Severson is now the owner of Handyman's Hardware in St. Cloud.

"The business was started by my parents in 1965. They were the first employees for about the first ten years and then after that we added a few employees. We started out about two blocks west of here and have been in this location since 1975."

Handyman's Hardware is our next featured business in our Thriving Local series. Mark Held is the general manager. He says they'll help guide you through all of your projects.

"If you come in and you need to fix something we have somebody to help you understand how to really get the job done."

Severson says having 20 plus experts on staff really does make a difference.

"A fun rule is if they typically think it's going to take four trips to get their project done, we think we can get it in two. Just because we can tell them some shortcuts, this is what you're going to run into, this is how you can make it more successful."

Besides having experts on staff, another reason this local business has been thriving is that they work with nearly 400 parts providers. Held says this makes it so they can have a variety of products in stock.

"We have a huge ability to try to get parts that are unique, difficult or specialized."

Over the years the business has grown. They had their first expansion in 1993 and then another one more recently.

"About five years ago we remodeled our back area so that we can have a commercial end back there. So if someone is coming in for more commercial oriented plumbing or heating that's back there."

You'd think with the inception of online stores that it would have cut into their business but Held says it's actually the opposite.

"People come here usually because they need [a part] now because it's broken. Online gets you second-day delivery but that leaves you no heat or other types [of problems]. So our challenge is to try to have the information online so they know we have it, so they can come in and get it and get the advice that comes with that face-to-face that you really can't ever get online."

Looking toward the future, Handyman's plans to stay in their east side St. Cloud location as well as continue to build relationships with other businesses but the best part about working in the hardware business is...

"I get a real kick out of getting to know the customers and then they keep coming back and it's like they are a part of our community."

If you have a suggestion for a business that's thriving locally here in central Minnesota, let us know! Email chrissy@wjon.com