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Bretz family marks 45 years

Forty-five years ago, Al Bretz opened a little hardware store in Perham. Today, the business has not only survived the decades, it has flourished. Bretz Hardware is Perhams oldest complete business, and remains in the hands of Al Bretz and his so...

Forty-five years ago, Al Bretz opened a little hardware store in Perham.

Today, the business has not only survived the decades, it has flourished. Bretz Hardware is Perhams oldest complete business, and remains in the hands of Al Bretz and his son, Jim.

It all began after Al Bretz discovered how much he enjoyed working for a hardware store in Wadena. Bretz soon decided to open up his own hardware store in Perham. The store opened its doors in March of 1961 and been in business ever since. What is the secret of this Perham businesss success? Work, Bretz immediately answered.

Jim Bretz agrees with his father that long hours and product knowledge are key in the hardware business. His father never pushed the hardware business on him, but Jim was raised in the hardware business, working there during high school. He has grown to love it as much as his father, and continues to work at the family business today.

Jim Bretz favorite part of the job is proving customers wrong when they come into the store with a problem they think he cant solve.

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Normally, we can pretty much help out anybody that comes in, he said.

Al agreed. I think were really problem solvers.

The stores long track record attests to the Bretzs ability to solve problems.

Al Bretz, now 91 years old, can still be seen chatting with his employees and customers. Bretz confesses that he likes riding or joking with his customers After forty-five year of working hard, Al confesses that, a he is there to just have a good time now. Despite that statement, he still knows the best way to help a customer with a problem, showing that he is still a business man. His love of working with the public keeps him coming in to the hardware store.

Part of the charm of the hardware store rests in this familiar customer service. As a family owned and operated business, there is added extra warmth among all the light bulbs, wrenches, and paint cans. A corner of the store hosts a house ware department, added in 2001, which has been a popular addition, and gradually expanding since opening. Besides father and son, Als daughter-in-law, Shery Bretz works at the store regularly.

Were all Bretzs here, Sherry said.

Will the family continue to own and operate the hardware store for another forty-five years?

Well, at least until I retire, Jim said.

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But for now, Perham can count on Bretz Hardware for all their hardware needs.

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