It’s been more than 20 years since the Our Own Hardware distribution center in Ottawa closed its doors, but former employees remember the time fondly and our planning a reunion.
One of the organizers, Jean (Horne) Bond, said a former supervisor at the business was retuning to Ottawa to visit and came up with the idea of putting together a reunion.
“It’s open to everybody who was a former employee there and their families,” Bond said. “We have been reaching out to people, and most people I’ve talked to seem pretty excited about it. A lot of the people that we used to work with I haven’t seen since it shut down. So it will be interesting to catch up, reconnect and reminisce about the old days.”
Our Own Hardware was a distribution center for the Minneapolis-based hardware coop in the 1980s and 90s. It serviced Mr. C’s Hardware in Ottawa. The distribution center closed in about 1997. In 1998, Our Own Hardware merged with another member-focused coop, Hardware Wholesalers, Inc. That company would eventually become Do It Best Hardware.
Bond said she looks back on her time at the distribution center with fondness and is looking forward to seeing old friends again.
“We had a day shift and a night shift and if you worked on either shift you knew everybody there,” she said. “You knew everybody’s name, you knew a little bit about everybody. Every year we had a big picnic and every year we had a company Christmas party, and almost everybody went to those events. It was a good place to work. The management treated you well. I used to love when they would auction off damaged merchandise at discounted rates. It was just a type of environment that felt like family.”
The reunion will be at the Eagles Lodge in Ottawa on July 28, beginning at 6 p.m. Bond said people can bring snacks if they want to. People with questions can reach Bond on Facebook and send a private message.