Branstad, Reynolds help hardware store celebrate 150th

NEW PROVIDENCE – It was a celebration Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds said they did not want to miss.

The pair helped New Providence Hardware store celebrate 150 years in business in a special event Friday.

“This is a pretty big deal,” Branstad said. “I think it’s neat to have a hardware store for 150 years.”

The store was established in 1863 and has been owned and operated by the married couple Tom and Marlene McDonald since 1975.

“It’s a significant milestone,” Marlene McDonald said. “We’re happy the governor and lieutenant governor put us on their schedule. It another step of credibility.”

The McDonalds said the community support for this celebration has been overwhelming. People brought in antique tractors and cars for display and lent a hand any way they could to make the event special.

“That’s why we’re still here after all these years because there is such strong community support,” Tom McDonald said.

The McDonalds showed the state leaders several historical items in the store including the antique cash register and a roll-top desk.

“They’ve done a great job of preserving the history and heritage here,” Branstad said.

The original store burned down in a massive fire in 1910, but it was quickly rebuilt into the structure that stands today.

Reynolds said visiting the store brought back memories of growing up in a small town. She said she knows the importance of these types of businesses to small towns.

“It keeps our small communities vibrant,” Reynolds said.

Hundreds of people turned out for the event including one man who encouraged Branstad to run for re-election.

“I think there’s a good chance,” Branstad said.

The anniversary celebration continues Saturday with special drawing and sales, an 11 a.m. live music event by the Porch Stompers and a free lunch at noon to the first 200 guests.