Orme Hardware - since 1869
"You Can Find It At Ormes!"
Orme Hardware, one of Cambridge and Guernsey County’s oldest businesses, has been in operation since May 1869. The first establishment was located at the corner of East Eighth Street and Wheeling Avenue in downtown Cambridge, Ohio. First newspaper advertisements of the store designate its location as “on the East side of the public square.” The ad stated it dealt in “shelve and heavy hardware.
The business was actually started by Mr. A.C. Cochran. Cochran was shortly bought out by Mr. R.V. Orme and Jacob F. Meredith, the original Orme in the company, and the business became known as Meredith and Orme Hardware. In a few years, Niel and Thompson became associated with the hardware, and once again the name was altered to Orme, Neil and Thompson Company.
The incorporation papers were filed on March 14, 1900. By this time, the hardware had relocated to 828 Wheeling Avenue on a property belonging to Colonel Seneca Needham, in the former Globe Inn. The structure was a two-story building built onto a two story log house. The store carried such standard items as wooden pumps, wooden pipe, saddlery and horse collars, kerosene lamps and all the regular hardware needed for maintaining homes, businesses and farms. Coal mining supplies were kept in quantity to meet the needs of local mines, which at that were in full production. This included blasting powder, fuses and other related items.
Orme Hardware, with its pot bellied stove for heat, was a great gathering place for the men when their wives came downtown to do their shopping. After making their own purchases, a few hours could easily be spent warming at the stove and visiting with friends.
Change came to Orme hardware in December 1902. Mr. Niel quit the hardware business, selling his interest to Mr. McMahon, and the name became The Orme, McMahon, Thompson Company. The Orme family had continued in the business for many years with various associates. The name remained the same until 1952, when Carlos (Jim) Garver, then owner, changed the name to Orme Hardware, Inc. The Garvers operated the store, adding new merchandise and new services, until March 1957 when Tom Rae and John (Jack) McCoy purchased the store and continued in business at 828 Wheeling Avenue until 1962. Then, after 92 years in the same location, Orme Hardware moved to 134 North 11th Street in the remodeled building formerly housing the John White garage. The following December, John (Jack) McCoy acquired Rea’s interest. Jack continued to operate the store until 1996, when his son Richard (Dick) McCoy took over the company. Sadly, Dick passed away in 2016, but not after growing Ormes to include seven locations and being elected to the Do It Best Board of Directors. His wife, Karen, continues the family business and the tradition of Ormes.
Many changes have been made on the 134 North Eleventh Street location since the move there in 1962. In January 1967, Orme Hardware Inc. purchased the inventory of the Potter Hardware Co., an established Cambridge business for more than fifty years, and operated a downtown Ormes in a completely remodeled facility at 723 Wheeling Avenue. Downtown Orme Hardware continued until March 1973 when the two stores were combined to be more efficient operation under one roof at the 134 North Eleventh Street address.
In 1979 electronic cash registers helped keep accurate records – a far cry from the original records in daily ledgers, hand written, listing the customer’s name, his purchase and the price, and whether it was cash or charge. Note these items taken from a daily ledger dated April 13, 1889: E.D. Patterson of Creighton, Ohio purchased 1-keg 8 nails for $2.40. 3 rakes for $.60 and 1 fire shovel for $.10 with a grand total of $3.70 and on April 24, 1889: John Orme purchased 2 hatchet handles for $.10 and a pipe wrench for $1.25. A record of the early people and businesses in Cambridge and Guernsey County and also the surrounding area, and their purchases are found in these early ledgers from Orme Hardware. Many relics from the past are still a part of Orme's history.
Today Orme Hardware strives to meet the needs of city and the rural customers, just as the original Orme Hardware met the needs of the early settlers in 1869. Extended hours are for the convenience of the customer. Knowledgeable clerks are always on hand to help with a purchase, and two checkouts are available to speed transactions. A friendly atmosphere and a desire to serve the customer by providing information and service are two of the most important goals of Orme Hardware that have been carried on through the 110 years Orme Hardware has been serving Cambridge and surrounding area. And remember, "You Can Find It At Ormes!"