By Allison Collins
AFTON – The Greater Afton Chamber of Commerce recently announced this year’s Business of the Year and Citizen of the Year, naming Horton Hardware and Bob Briggs respective honorees.
Chamber secretary Judy Hinman said, after narrowing an initial pool of 11 business nominees, the vote went out to chamber members in late April.
In the anonymous nomination process, one chamber member lauded Horton Hardware as one of the group’s first members, saying: “Horton Hardware continues to support the chamber (and) readily donates to many groups in Afton (through) fundraising.”
Calling the 198 Main St. store a “true cornerstone of Afton” the nominator added: “The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable.”
Through five generations, Horton Hardware has remained family-owned.
After construction began on the downtown building in 1905 by founder and namesake Clark Horton, the store opened on April 28, 1906. Clark’s son Harrison helped the store run smoothly.
The business, known colloquially as “The Big Hardware” changed hands in the late ‘50s when Charlie Gaydorus, a farmer like Clark Horton, purchased the store from Harrison’s widow, Pearl Horton.
Under Charlie Gaydorus’ management, the store saw rapid expansion, gaining a two-story addition in 1970, amplifying the business’ small-engine repair shop and tool rental options in 1994 and adding products such as bedding, kitchen appliances, utility shoes, outerwear and more.
Also in that time, the senior Gaydorus enlisted the help of sons Steve and Alan, who co-own and manage the store today. Steve and Alan bought the store from their father in the mid-‘90s.
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