New owner for Orion hardware store

by Mindy Carls correspondent
Adam Bakener of Orion and his girlfriend, Stephanie Armoska, are buying Orion True Value Hardware. The name will remain the same, but the entrance will change.

Orion True Value Hardware has new owners, Adam Bakener of Orion and his girlfriend, Stephanie Armoska.

Bakener, a native of Oregon, Ill., helped with his uncle’s hardware store there from age 11 until he graduated from college.

After college, he was a union carpenter and custom homebuilder for years.

Bakener moved to Orion in 2006 and worked in insurance restoration and as a project manager. He started his own handyman construction business two years ago.

He approached True Value’s owner, John Hathaway of Galva, four years ago about buying the business from him. Hathaway said he wasn’t interested, but Bakener said he kept bugging him.

“It has taken one and a half years to get this done,” Bakener said.

The best part about working in a hardware store is “helping people find what they need to fix whatever they’ve got broken at home,” he said. “That’s what I love to do.”

Bakener said the Orion True Value Hardware employees with their vast knowledge are one of the store’s strong points. Some have done construction and electrical work themselves. They take personal pride in the store, and it shows when they help customers.

Bakener is keeping all the employees. He said he and Armoska had a great meeting with them.

Armoska is a surgical nurse in Galesburg and will work at the store part-time. Bakener jokingly told her she could be the paint specialist, and he would teach her what she needed to know.

Bakener is planning several changes, such as adding lumber — 2 by 4’s, 2 by 6’s and plywood — for the convenience of Orion residents. Buying it here will save a trip into the Quad Cities.

He is building up the inventory and freshening the stock.

Bakener is planning to redo the entrance by adding a second door and a window on the east side. The store already has a window on the west side. He will replace the wood with siding.

He plans to paint the floor and redo the ceiling with new lights.

Bakener will keep the name Orion True Value Hardware because he wants to customers to know where to find his store. He will be trying to draw in residents of Alpha, Woodhull and Sherrard.

The store does have a new logo and will get a new sign.

Although Hathaway is selling the Orion store, he plans to continue with the hardware and grocery stores he owns in Galva.

Bakener still has family in Oregon. His sister Alicia Bakener is a kindergarten teacher at C.R. Hanna Elementary School, Orion.

One more question: Will dogs return to the store? Former owner Craig Hughes had golden retrievers.

“I would love to,” Bakener said. “I’m a big golden retriever fan.”

Although he doesn’t have a dog right now, he hopes someday a dog will greet customers.