When a family-owned business has been serving their community for over 70 years, we should pay attention because they are obviously doing something right. Killian’s Hardware started as a feed store in 1953, run by Emory Killian. His son, Elmer, expanded the feed store into a hardware store in 1964. Elmer’s daughters, Susan Killian Kirby and Sharon Killian Radke, now the owners of Killian’s Hardware, took over managing the store in 1997. The daughters had grown up helping their dad with the store, so it was a smooth transition. Jennifer Gott, Sharon’s daughter, joined the family business over 11 years ago. Across four generations, Killian’s Hardware has shown continued success and growth, with each generation preparing the next, embracing and implementing the new generations’ ideas and skills. This has allowed Killians to keep abreast with the times, while holding onto the values and traditions their family established before them. As Sharon said, “We are always looking forward to how we can better serve our customers and community, so the best is yet to come!”
“Business is not always about the bottom line but it is totally about the relationships you develop along the way. From suppliers to customers and community, our relationships keep us successful. When we commit to a relationship, we do so on a long-term basis. Being a good customer of our suppliers is important to being able to offer our community excellent products and service. When COVID hit and a lot of businesses were experiencing supply chain issues, we were still going strong. Our suppliers came through for us, and we made the appropriate and necessary inventory investments and requirements to make sure our customers could keep working,” explained Sharon.
It is important to Susan, Sharon, and Jennifer to support their community. They open their memorabilia-filled museum to the community during customer appreciation celebrations. Killians offers Pro Days for their professional landscapers, when they can get the credentials they need to do their jobs. One of the most popular events is Breakfast with Santa in December. In December 2022, around 300 people, from one-month-old to 100 years old, attended. Customers still remember visiting Killians from their childhood and now bring their children and grandchildren to visit Santa. As the fire department delivered Santa to Killians this past Christmas, a customer showed the owners a photograph of the local fire department delivering Santa over 50 years ago. “These traditions are sweet memories that are worth keeping alive,” said Jennifer.
In addition to their community events, Killians continues to support local high schools and churches, CVCC, and various non-profit organizations. One organization is Rising Hope Farms that Killians supports with a Toro commercial zero turn mower donation every year to help with property maintenance.
Sharon believes that iron sharpens iron and that it’s important to surround yourself with good people and to give back. This year she is serving on the OPE (Outdoor Power Equipment) Dealer Council and Kohler’s Dealer Council to stay on the cutting edge of the business and help shape the outdoor power equipment industry.
Speaking of iron sharpening iron…Killians employs competent and solid team members in all departments. “We are blessed to have such a wonderful staff,” said Susan. “From our sales department and hardware department, to our warehouse, parts and service staff, every employee is knowledgeable in their area of service to the customer. We’re still having fun, and that’s what is important. It is about people serving people.” Susan shared. “Every department works together, and that is exactly what it takes to succeed in this industry.”
PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
The store is best known for quality mowers and lawn equipment for both the professional and the homeowner. Killians has an extensive selection of Toro, Cub Cadet lawn tractors, Billy Goat, Stihl, and Echo products. Their showroom amazes customers! Not only do they have an impressive amount of product in stock, they offer expertise on those products to ensure you select what best fits your needs.
Their inventory doesn’t stop with mowers. Killians has a full line of hardware, electrical, and plumbing. They also carry top-quality grass seeds that are formulated for our area, professional turf fertilizers, lime, garden seeds, and a variety of herbicides and pesticides to keep your lawn in its best possible condition. Not only do they offer excellent products, they service what they sell. Killians has the largest parts inventory in the Southeast. When you buy from Killians, you can be assured of excellent service for that product for years to come.
For the landscaper, Killians offers service within a 24-working hour turnaround time for products that are purchased there. Products are only as good as the support received from dealers, and Killians strives to be the best. “We align ourselves with the leading manufacturers in the OPE industry so we can provide the support in parts and service that our landscapers need and deserve,” said Jennifer.
Residential homeowners will find everything they need from hand tools to push mowers and zero turn mowers. Come in and demo any model. All equipment is sold set-up, serviced, and ready to take home to get you started on your home or commercial landscape project. Products are not sold in a box, they’re assembled by Killians’ highly-qualified warehouse staff. The staff also educates you on proper use and maintenance so your equipment will last. Killians offers drive-thru service for your yearly maintenance. Call and make an appointment to service your mower, and enjoy a coffee or bag of popcorn while you wait.
70 YEARS AND BEYOND
This year, Sharon plans to take a step-back from the various day-to-day operations while still staying involved with the company and continuing to serve on industry boards. As Killians moves forward into the next decade, their values remain the same. Keeping the traditions of generations past and adding new technology gives Killians’ customers the best of both worlds. Great products and services, knowledgeable team members, staying at the forefront of the industry, and giving back to their community are the cornerstones that have made Killians successful. These time-proven values will ensure their future success. As a landmark in our area for 70 years, Killians is committed to improving and enhancing the areas that have served them and their valued customers so well, while continuing to meet the demands of the times and servicing their existing and new customers for the next 70 years!
3790 Springs Road • Hickory
Hours: M-F 7:30 - 5:30 • Sat 7:30 - 2:00