BY D’ARCY EGAN
When Bassett’s Market decided to expand to the other side of Port Clinton in the past year, grocery veterans Ron Clark and Rob Carpenter were the perfect choice to get the new Bassett’s Hardware & City Market at 1608 E. Perry Street up and running.
“We’ve both worked for Bassetts for a long, long time, and we knew this would be a team effort,” said Clark, who is guiding the hardware business. “I’ve worked for Bassett’s Market since 1988, and have had 18 years of hardware experience at the Knoll Crest Shopping Center store.
“I’m a handy man kind of guy, and helped to establish the hardware department. There are a lot of people who have homes here and are do it yourself types when it comes to renovations or upkeep.”
Clark feels it may take a little while for people to become acclimated to the new store.
“It’s such a cool location, with lots of parking,” he said. “We still have of work to do to improve our hardware inventory at this store, but we know that will happen. Bassett’s has already committed to substantially expanding the hardware department this year.
“While Ron is definitely a hardware person at heart, I have always been on the food and grocery side,” said Rob Carpenter. “I’ve personally worked at every single position at Bassett’s Market. I’ll be helping out in hardware when needed, and Ron will get involved on the grocery side.
“Everyone who works here knows it’s all about the team,” he said. “That is one of the major reasons people work here for decades, and sometimes their whole career. It’s more of a family experience, and we enjoy that.”
Carpenter is confident the new store will be busy. There is more of a population density, and residents can walk to the store. Carpenter says the Route 2 bridge is a bit of a roadblock, too.
“I don’t know why, but many people who live in the downtown area don’t like to go any further east on Perry Street than the Route 2 bridge,” said Carpenter. “And many who live in Catawba and Marblehead prefer shopping at our plaza store.”
With the two stores just 10 to 20 minutes apart, depending on seasonal traffic, it’s easy to share goods and employees throughout the year.
“We have a very mixed demographic here depending on the time of year,” said Carpenter. “From May through early October visitors, from tourists to fishermen, need coffee and donuts in the morning, ready-made sandwiches, propane, charcoal and tons of ice each week.
For summer and year-round residents, hardware is a very big deal,” said Clark. “Our stores have to have a lot of inventory, as well as the expertise to help people know exactly what they need to buy.”
At the store’s grand opening a few weeks ago, President Charlie Bassett said that “an operation like this does not come together with one person. It takes a team of highly skilled people to make it happen.”