By Alex Gladu, Independent We Stand
Jim and Marilyn Lehrer didn’t originate Brownsboro Hardware & Paint in Louisville, Kentucky, but they have made it into the strong local business and community advocate that it is today. Under this husband-and-wife team, the award-winning shop has added employees, a second location and an annual tradition that gives back to the community in a big way. Each year, Brownsboro Hardware & Paint’s EGGFest brings members of the community together through good food and valuable community service.
The Lehrer family purchased Brownsboro Hardware & Paint in 1998. Although he was a new business owner, Jim was no stranger to the hardware industry. “Brownsboro Hardware & Paint had been in business since 1960, and we saw a great opportunity to grow the business and make it profitable,” Jim said. “I had a tremendous experience from working with many great retailers in the wholesale business. This allowed me to apply many of the positive things and avoid many of the pitfalls I saw over the years.”
In 2010, the Lehrers opened their second location in nearby Prospect, Kentucky. Today, Brownsboro Hardware & Paint is also a member of Do it Best Corp., the only full-service member-owned buying cooperative in the hardware industry. The business has increased its staff six fold in the time that the Lehrer family has owned it, creating new jobs for the community and expanding its impact on the local economy. It has also increased its economic impact on local charities, namely through an annual event known as EGGFest.
“Our annual EGGFest event in August has grown to be a winner for our community, for our customers and for us,” said Jim. “This is a cooking event that runs Friday night and all day Saturday.” During EGGFest, local chefs and cooking enthusiasts whip up their best recipes on Big Green Egg grills and present them to members of the community who come for a taste. In selling tasting tickets and refreshments and accepting donations, Brownsboro Hardware & Paint raises money for local charities. In 2015, Brownsboro Hardware & Paint supported two organizations committed to ending local hunger: Blessings in a Backpack and A Recipe to End Hunger. After a successful event last August, Brownsboro Hardware & Paint donated more than $16,000 to these organizations.
Brownsboro Hardware & Paint also supports other local causes, including various Boy Scout Eagle projects, Adopt-A-Mile and the Louisville Independent Business Alliance. The Lehrers have been active local business owners for nearly 20 years, and their business has been around even longer. All the while, Brownsboro Hardware & Paint has had a meaningful impact on local workers, the local economy and local causes. For more information, visit www.brownsborohardware.com.
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Alex recently graduated the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with B.A.s in Journalism and Spanish. Since becoming a writer for Independent We Stand, she has fully adopted the ‘buy local’ lifestyle. Her favorite indie business is Sugarland, a bakery in Chapel Hill, N.C, where she has been known to go a little cupcake crazy. She hopes to attend law school and pursue a career in nonprofit or political communication.