Jeff Burchardt, owner of
Lorleberg True Value Hardware in Oconomowoc,
said locally owned hardware stores offer convenience.
DELAFIELD — When all else fails, your local hardware
likely won’t, and that’s how Adam Hahn tries to get his
employees to view their job.
“Nine out of 10 times might not be good enough if we
don’t meet that customer’s expectations every time,”
Hahn said. “It might be the difference between turning
in our parking lot or going down the road to one of the
Hahn is the second generation of family ownership at
Hahn Ace Hardware. The family owns stores in Delafield,
Mukwonago and Hartford.
Jeff Burchardt owns Lorleberg True Value Hardware in
Oconomowoc, and points to the factor of convenience
provided by locally owned hardware stores.
“It’s easy to do business with us,” Burchardt said. “We
can act faster on any special requests, and the owner of
that business is in that town, generating dollars that
stay in the community.
True Value Hardware and Ace Hardware are titans of the
American retail landscape. Where the two differ from
larger competitors such as Lowe’s, Menards or Home Depot
is in local ownership.
“Every day I get to come to work at a place to help
people and help them feel good about their projects,”
Burchardt said. “They can get everything they need with
one trip, have the right products and be successful at
Perry, Barb and Adam Hahn stand outside one of their
three Hahn Ace Hardware locations.
Hahn previously worked in retail at Target’s corporate
headquarters in Minneapolis and returned to the area
when his parents expanded their hardware empire.
takes a unique person,” Hahn said of the hardware
business. “Someone who wants to interact with customers
day in and day out and develop those relationships.
always say we can teach hardware, but you have to have
the right people to start.”
locally owned hardware is a staple of any town and
evokes thoughts and memories of a slice of Americana
that is being gradually lost to online shopping and big
box retail outlets.
Hahn’s oldest store is the family’s Hartford outlet, and
opened in 1870 under the operation of George Hess. Perry
Hahn — Adam’s father — started working at the store in
the late 1970s, and quickly worked his way up to
was one of my father’s first jobs out of high school,
and he really found a passion for it and all the things
that go along with it — working closely with your
customers, knowing people personally, and being heavily
involved in the community,” Adam said. “Those are some
of the things that drove them to ultimately own a
Perry and his wife, Barbara, bought the Hartford store
in 1999. The Hahn empire expanded in 2013 with the
purchase of the Delafield store and again in 2015 with
the purchase of the Mukwonago store.
Burchardt’s father bought Lorleberg True Value in 1970 —
100 years after it opened. Burchardt’s father started
working for the last of the Lorleberg family at age 15.
1958 – three years after the founding of True Value —
Burchardt’s father signed-up to be part of the chain.
Jeff Burchardt has owned the store since 1999.
Both Burchardt and Hahn said they believe their seasoned
staffs and smaller footprint make their stores more
appealing than a big box. Ace and True Value both carry
considerable purchasing power, and both Burchardt and
Hahn said they are competitive on price and outstanding
Both stores rent tools and other equipment, sharpen
knives, repair small engines, cut keys, re-key locks,
repair and build screens, cut and fix glass and cut and
thread pipe, among a multitude of duties.
Burchardt said one of his employees is going on 50 years
with the store and said many of his managers have been
there for 10-15 years.
Hahn echoed Burchardt’s sentiment and said many members
of the Hahn workforce count more than 15 years at their
Hahn Ace Hardware is on the web at
www.hahnhardware.com. Lorleberg is online at