Starting in a small gas station in 1944, Umber’s Hardware was founded in Waynedale by Lester Umber. It was moved to its current location in 1955. In 1965 the business was purchased by Dwight and Marilyn
Umber, Lester’s son and daughter-in-law. In 1973, David Umber, now president, joined the business.
In 1976 a second location in Georgetown North was added and a third store in Time Corners opened in 1987.
In 1997, Dave and Barbara Umber bought the business, and currently with their son Grant, operate out of 2 locations, Waynedale and Georgetown North.
From having a waiting list for the 1 shovel Umber’s was allotted per week during World War II, to being able to have any item shipped overnight directly to a customers home, Umber’s Do It Best Hardware will continue to give the customer service that that has made them successful since 1944.
In May 1944, Lester and Bertha Umber converted an old gas station at the corner of Lower Huntington Road and Old Trail Road (now Chase Bank) into a hardware store. They started with $700 in inventory and approximately 1000 square foot of floor space. Because World War II was in full swing, product was hard to come by. To make the shelves appear full, Lester would set the item on the shelf and the box it came in next to it.
To maintain a steady income, Lester continued to work full time at General Hosiery at the Wayne Knitting Mill on West Main Street while Bertha worked at the hardware. Their two sons, Dwight, age 10 and Ervin, age 13 were enlisted to help.
Lester had been studying hardware for twenty years and soon joined the full time forces along with his wife and children. The venture proved to be very successful. In 1954, Lester built a 3,200 square foot building at 2413 Lower Huntington Road – the current Waynedale location. Umbers joined the Ace Hardware Corporation and hired the first non-family member, Roy Young. Ervin had left the business in 1952 and went to work for Fort Wayne Newspapers. Dwight’s wife Marilyn, joined the hardware team in 1957.