ALBION — It was 15 years ago, shortly after Don and Sally Merriman had purchased Doc’s Do-It-Best Hardware when the diminutive older lady walked into the business.
In gnarled, severely arthritic hands, she held a lamp. The lamp was her favorite, she told Don, but due to her arthritis, she could no longer work the nob to turn it on or off.
Searching through his inventory, still new to him, Don found an adapter for the on/off switch with a large paddle that even someone with arthritis could easily manipulate.
What the adapter didn’t have was a price tag.
“I had no idea what to charge, so I charged her nothing,” Don said.
It’s moments like that he lives for, when he goes home from a day at work and knows that he really helped someone.
It’s moments like that which led to Doc’s Do-It-Best Hardware receiving the Albion Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Business Appreciation Award on Jan. 31 at the chamber’s annual meeting and dinner.
“It’s nice to be appreciated,” Don said after the meeting. “It’s very humbling.”
In presenting the award, chamber board members Kay Craig and Sandy Petrie took turns giving examples of how the Merrimans had helped them at The Arc Noble County Foundations and the Noble County Public Library, respectively.
Then other chamber members joined in with their own examples.
The Merrimans were praised for not only being able to help, but for doing so during hours the business is normally closed.
Don said he has been called on to provide emergency help at midnight and on Christmas Day.
He understands, he said, that things happen. And in many instances, they need to be fixed immediately, whether the local hardware is officially closed or not.
“We’ve all been there,” Don said. “We just have things that people need. It is so gratifying helping people out.”
Also at the Jan. 31 meeting, the chamber board announced that it would be discontinuing its previous policy of having monthly meetings. Instead, there will be meetings — likely in the early evening — in May and October.
The only people regularly attending the monthly meetings were chamber board members.
“It was just and maybe two other people,” chamber president Chris Magnuson said.
“We trying to make it more meaningful,” Craig said. “We’re trying to move beyond having meetings for meetings’ sake.”
The first meeting is scheduled to be held at the Noble County Public Library. Petrie will give a tour of the library’s facilities, including equipment that businesses could utilize to their benefit.
Petrie said the board hopes with having fewer, more productive meetings, it will lead to the kind of attendance that was at the Jan. 31 annual meeting.
“It’s a great time to network and get to know each other,” Petrie said. “We are only strong if we are working together.”
The 2017 Albion Chamber of Commerce board members are Chris Magnuson, Kay Craig, Phil Lock, Carla Fiandt, Sandy Petrie, Janet Mendenhall, Dr. Ken Cripe, Sharon Leitch and Tammy Luce.
The meal at the Jan. 31 event was provided by the Rosary Sodality and volunteers from Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church.