From the Marine Corps to SpaceX, Oak Knolls Hardware owner Ben Honeycutt wanted nothing more than to be his own boss while giving back to his veteran family. After high school, Ben Honeycutt wanted to serve his country and decided to join the Marine Corps where he was a mechanic who worked on F-18 aircraft in late 2009.
After getting hurt and medically retiring from the Marine Corps in April 2013, Ben was in search of a new role in which he could make a similar impact on the country. The day he left the military, he packed up his things and moved north, where he became one of the first employees of SpaceX. After a few successful launches in California, Ben was sent to Florida to continue working on spacecraft for SpaceX. Oftentimes he would travel home to California and during one of his one-month visits he met his wife. After spending 6 years working for SpaceX, Ben decided it was time for him to settle down as he was always traveling and wanted to start a family.
Ben finally decided to stop his work at SpaceX to stop traveling and be with his wife. At this point, he decided that he needed to find a more sustainable job that would allow him to have a family. His neighbor at the time owned a hardware store that he would visit from time to time when he needed odds and ends for his home. He started to notice that when he would take visits to the hardware store, the husband and wife duo would talk about how they wanted to retire and sell or close the hardware store.
At this point, Ben started to think about owning a hardware store himself, and he could see himself as the owner of one. Not only did he have an interest in being in the retail space, but he loved the idea of being his own boss. His neighbor had finally decided to sell the hardware store to Ben, but it kept getting pushed off until June 2020. They were originally set to sell the hardware store in March of 2020 at the onset of the pandemic, which ended up being a record month for them in sales. Once Ben purchased the hardware store, he realized that the space needed a revamp, and he would often work long hours, which was something he was no stranger to from the Marine Corps and SpaceX, only now he was his own boss. Do it Best Corp lent Ben all the help they could to help to revamp the hardware store, and he was ready to do whatever he needed to do to get the store back in good shape and modernized.
When it comes to the hardware business, Ben has found a knack for staying on top of what's trending and adapting his business to stay modern, and offering products that customers will be looking for to help keep the business fresh. Ben worked to create an online presence for Oak Knolls Hardware and is starting to see online sales start to increase, although in-store sales continue to drive a majority of his business.
Ben loves to support his local community and local sports teams, and it's his favorite when children come into the store asking for Oak Knolls Hardware to sponsor their sports team. When asked what he enjoys most about being a small business owner, "Giving back to the community is what I thoroughly enjoy, and it's the best to offer that kind of support to my local community. Support my local business that way I can support your local charity or sports team."
Being a veteran himself, supporting veteran-focused organizations and charities is incredibly important to Ben, and every year Oak Knolls Hardware supports a different veteran organization that needs funding. One of the ways they raise money for this is by running a yearly raffle in the local community where proceeds go to veteran organizations and the local community.
Running a local business, Ben says "You’re always looking to help someone in need, and being a veteran, if you can do something to help your community and show them you care then they’re going to care about you. I don’t do it for the publicity, I never wanted that, I do it because I feel like it's the right thing to do."
Oak Knolls Hardware is located in Santa Maria, CA and you can learn more about Ben, his family, and the local business they run on their website.