A new retail shop has popped up in the empty spot of a long-time Waynedale business that closed recently.
“It feels like it’s been long enough. Everybody misses Umber’s Do It Best, and want to see something new it’s place,” said Cody Lybrook, the new manager and owner of Waynedale Hardware.
Waynedale Hardware will replace the old Umber’s Ace Hardware/Umber’s Do It Best which had been in business at 2413 Lower Huntington Road for more than 60 years!
Umbers closed its doors late last year, citing declining business, a difficult economy, and troubles due to the COVID pandemic. At the time, Umbers’ owners weren’t sure what would become of their building.
Since Umbers’ closing, Lybrook and his staff have been busy revamping the old store into a newer, more modern shop.
“We completely remodeled it, all the way down to the walls,” he said. “We redid the flooring and remodeled the entrance. Lybrook said he also plans to repave the store’s parking lot. He estimates his group spent roughly $300,000 to $400,000 on refurbishments.
“After Umbers closed,” Lybrook said, “the building just needed a lot of love.”
Lybrook notes that the entire store just feels more updated now.
“Everything is more modern. In fact, we’re one of three stores in the whole world with our particular design layout,” he said. “The lighting (which cost about $100,000 to upgrade), will be different and brighter.
“It’s just more of a modern aesthetic.”
The new store officially opened on Aug. 1, but they plan to have a formal grand opening on Sept. 17, Lybrook shared. He said for that event, the store plans to invite a couple of local radio stations, as well as feature some store vendor demonstrations, and food and beverages for visitors.
The store will employ a staff of about 14 people, with two of its workers hired from the old Umbers crew, Lybrook said. And unlike Umbers (which was affiliated the national Do-It-Best chain), the new store will operate independently, Lybrook noted.
Lybrook, age 31, who is originally from the Kokomo area, formerly worked for the Menard’s hardware chain for seven years, first as a store manager in Fort Wayne, and then in the company’s corporate offices.
Store hours for the new shop will be Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Lybrook said he wants his new store to be a good fit for Waynedale – both for local hardware customers and the community.
“Waynedale doesn’t really have a one-stop full-service hardware store,” Lybrook said, “And we want to be that for this area. Waynedale is a tight-knit, local community that deserves a store like this, and we want to be that store for this area.”