Sears Appliance and Hardware earns Best Small Business award

HONOR: Sears Appliance and Hardware co-owner, Tammy Weaver, places merchandise on the shelves in the store, which recently earned the Best Small Business Award by the Michigan Small Business Development Center. (Pioneer photo/Miranda Roberts)

HONOR: Sears Appliance and Hardware co-owner, Tammy Weaver, places merchandise on the shelves in the store, which recently earned the Best Small Business Award by the Michigan Small Business Development Center. (Pioneer photo/Miranda Roberts)

BIG RAPIDS — Sears Appliance and Hardware Store of Big Rapids has been recognized by the Michigan Small Business Development Center, earning the Best Small Business Award.

The store is one of 12 in the state to receive the award this year, chosen from more than 5,500 small businesses that MI-SBDC gave confidential counseling and training to in 2013. The winners are businesses that have shown success in creating jobs, increasing sales, improving business strategy and their involvement with the MI-SBDC.

For Tammy Weaver and her husband, Scott, who independently own Sears Appliance and Hardware in Big Rapids, earning the award is exciting.

“We have worked very hard,” Weaver said. “It’s a privilege. There are lots of businesses in town that come and go. The fact that we got the award for expanding and adding jobs to the community that is so important to us – that’s great.”

The Weavers bought their store, located at 14305 Northland Drive, in 2007, when inventory only included appliances, lawn and garden and select tools. They have since expanded their store to include a vast array of hardware items.

“People see Sears and think, ‘Well, I don’ t need appliances or a tractor,’ so then they don’t come in,” Weaver said. “They don’t know that we have car oils, paint, cleaning supplies, light bulbs, nuts and bolts, everyday stuff.”

The store also has grown from a staff of three full-time workers and two part-time staff to four full-time and six part-time employees.

“Originally there was my son, my husband and myself,” Weaver said. “We were working seven days a week because we were open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. We didn’t really have a second shift and we couldn’t really afford a night manager because there were three of us. We also had two part-time delivery drivers.”

Weaver is also involved with the Band of Locals and has served on the Mecosta County Chamber of Commerce board. Each year, Sears Appliance and Hardware sponsors a Little League team and gives back whenever possible to local benefits and silent auctions.

“My husband is retired military,” Weaver said. “We are not from here; we are from the Jackson area. We have lived all over the country, including England. My sister lives in Baldwin, so when my mom and dad got sick, who are in Michigan, I came back here and moved to this area because that’s where she was. It’s not like I’ve grown up here and I know everybody, but in the seven years I have been here I have learned that Big Rapids is a very tight-knit community.”

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Posted by Miranda Roberts

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