Leigh Ann Akard owns Akard True Value Hardware, the third-generation family-owned hardware store opened by her grandfather in Zionsville, Indiana, in 1955. When she’s not focused on outdoor power equipment and DIY supplies, Akard has a worthwhile hobby: giving back to the local community.
“Community involvement is a labor of love,” Akard recently told The Hardware Connection. “What better hobby could I be involved in?”
This time of year, the store’s commitment to veterans really shines through. Akard’s father, the store’s second-generation owner, served in the Army. Meanwhile, the store’s manager, Joe Hollingsworth, previously served in the Marine Corps. In honor of them and other veterans, Akard True Value Hardware set up a Veterans Tree each holiday season. Customers can bring in a photo of their beloved veterans to hang on the tree. More than 100 photos typically cover the tree, ranging from World War II veterans to those currently in uniform. The store also offers preferred parking for veteran customers.
This year, Akard True Value Hardware also participated in a local Christmas scavenger hunt and a holiday pop-up market. The store is also accepting old Christmas lights that can be recycled.
Beyond the holidays, Akard and her team give back in meaningful ways. The locally owned hardware store hosts cookouts for Little League teams and fundraisers for local charities on a regular basis. Akard herself has served previously as the president of the local Lions Club and remains an active member. When the only grocery store in town closed recently, Akard organized a pop-up farmers market to keep local produce and perishables accessible to nearby residents.
The family business also supports its own: Akard’s husband is a local firefighter, and the family hardware store always makes sure that local first responders have all the supplies they need. Akard True Value Hardware also supports an annual Pancake Day fundraiser at the firehouse.
From pancakes to pop-up markets, Akard’s hobby benefits the community all year long. For more information about Akard True Value Hardware, visit www.akardtruevalue.com.