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Our History



Dennis and Sherry Bishop purchased Petersburg Hardware in 1995.  After changing hardware Co-ops and doing major renovations, they turned the store back into a keystone for the community.  In 2016, Eric and Robin Smith (Bishop’s daughter and son-in-law) helped expand the store into one of the largest retail locations in Pike County, Indiana.  The Smith’s became the second generation owners in 2021.


For nearly 25 years, Dennis and Sherry Bishop built their reputation as successful small business owners in Petersburg, Indiana, a town of just under 2,400 residents. Their attractive neighborhood hardware store was housed in a turn of the century two-story brick building right on Main Street. The tight 6,000 square feet facility covering two floors presented a few merchandising challenges and forced them to be very selective about what was stocked. Combined with the lack of off-street parking, customers were led to a get-in-and-get-out shopping mentality. But the Bishops were solid, respected retailers who understood their market and prospered while raising a family on the steady income the store provided. Like many, their children also spent time in the store, doing odd jobs before growing up and heading off to start their own careers.  In 2004, the Bishops unknowingly hired one of their future sons-in-law.  Eric Smith was hired to take over a dying department within the hardware store, cellular phone sales.   Dennis and Sherry’s proposition to Eric was succeed or they would terminate the department and most likely his position.  Eric spent countless hours growing what started as a small cabinet of only six phones into a bustling business that employed additional employees.  During this time Eric met Robin (Bishop) Smith who was working in the store alongside her father with finances.  It didn’t take long before Eric and Robin knew that they had a future together.  Robin and Eric married in 2007.   Robin excelled in her business finance studies at ISU and upon graduation had a big decision to make, join her new husband and family to continue to grow the business or venture into her own career.  Robin chose to expand the cellular phone business with Eric.  The two of them grew that segment of the business to become one of the top wireless phone dealers in southern Indiana and expanded into a second location.   Unfortunately, in 2014, there was a shift in the wireless industry to walk away from Mom and Pop shops; the Smith’s were lucky to pick up on the signs and prepare at the peak of their success.

That year, Robin and Eric approached her parents to say they wanted to be a bigger part of the long-term plan for Petersburg Hardware. Dennis and Sherry were thrilled, of course, but they knew something would need to change for the business to support everyone now involved. That’s when they reached out to their co-op to explore opportunities for a new location, one that would allow for more products to be offered with even more room for growth.

Over the next two years, they collaborated on extensive market and site analysis, customer surveys and financial projections, combined with a healthy dose of brainstorming and lots of good ole fashioned elbow grease, to launch the all-new Petersburg Hardware. Set up in a shuttered ShopKo Hometown store, the new location offered the added benefit of being much closer to an Interstate highway. 

Petersburg Hardware

When they held their grand opening on April 2, 2016, more than 2,000 people lined up outside for their chance to glimpse the selection of products now available in their 28,000 square foot home center. Petersburg Hardware was suddenly 4 times larger than its old location, modern looking, and welcoming, nothing like the business that was formerly housed there. From that very first day, it’s never been the same. New sales records are regularly set and surpassed. New products are introduced. New events are held. Petersburg Hardware is a beacon for growth in the small town of Petersburg, Pike County, and Southern Indiana. Success for the Bishop and Smith families stems from their drive to provide and support for their community, determination to be the best in the independent hardware community, focus on the customer experience inside and outside of the store, and good ole grit to get the job done.


With nearly 30,000 square feet available to work with, Petersburg Hardware focuses on an exceptional shopping destination. Upon entering, customers find a well-stocked supply of shopping carts, as you might expect. But the Bishop’s/Smith’s wanted to offer an experience for the whole family, so there are kid-sized carts, too.

Stepping further into the store, shoppers notice the deeper selection in core departments (plumbing & electrical, heating, paint, tools) as well as a number of impressive products Petersburg couldn’t offer before, like Scag heavy-duty riding mowers. One of the early insights the family gained from their customer surveys was the desire for expanded lawn & garden and lumber & building materials. Customers continually discover an increased offering in these categories. The family opened the store with 28’ of Echo equipment, which immediately fired up their outdoor power sales. And those Scag mowers? They sold 39 the first year and increased the category by 138% the following year.  Now, they are Southern Indiana’s top Scag Dealer!  Farm & ranch and lawn & garden both had room to expand in the new location leading to exponential growth as well.

The LBM category was also completely new and now dedicate 8,000 square feet to convenience lumber and building materials - perfect for DIYers and small home remodelers.

But it’s not just the mix of products that customers note. It’s how they’re displayed that really catches peoples’ attention. When Petersburg Hardware started carrying large bags of animal feed, Eric couldn’t find the type of adjustable signage he wanted, so he made it himself. Using materials available for sale in the store, he created a rustic double-sided sign system from galvanized pipe, wood and chalkboard paint to draw added attention to their new offerings.

Not to be outdone, wife Robin repurposed an outdated paint color selector to display a new line of peel and stick backsplash and tile products. She took pride in doing it all herself, in no small part so she could confidently tell other aspiring female DIYers that they could take on a project like this, too. Eric and Robin work diligently to provide an enhanced shopping experience. Combined with their teams talents, the store offers a great selection of products, ideas, and knowledge to be the one stop shop needed for homeowners, contractors, and DIYers.


With an invigorated attitude toward exceptional retailing in their newfound space, the Petersburg team looks for every opportunity to capture sales with niche categories. In addition to the Scag mowers, women’s clothing and Melissa & Doug toys, they regularly introduce new niche products. They’ve already found great success in their home décor area with specialty signs (“Home is where the heart is” and the like), old fashioned sodas, Mrs. Meyer’s cleaning products, exclusive Channellock-branded products available through their co-op, major appliances (a hit with both homeowners and MROs) and a complete bargain aisle with even more toys. And Sherry’s approach to Christmas décor and trim-a-tree… well, you just have to see it to believe it!

But niche success also comes with a mindset for change - especially when a category isn’t performing. For example, when the Bishops/Smith’s realized their rental department was not producing like it should and their equipment was getting older, they chose to discontinue it in favor of another opportunity. Their outdoor power equipment sales, spurred by their Echo introduction, continued to grow. So last winter, instead of investing in all-new rental equipment, they reworked that floor space as a service department for outdoor power equipment and Scag Service.


With a new store filled with lots of new products, the Bishops knew they had to up their marketing if they were going to be successful. Dennis and Sherry passed the marketing torch to the Smiths before Day 1 at the new location. Eric quickly dove into Social Media and new marketing trends to reach a wider audience and draw from an expanded market area. Eric’s quick mastery of social media platforms leads many of the in-house made promotional videos to go “viral” with many reaching over 20,000 views in the first 24 hours of posting. Social media has become a bridge for new and current customers to become acquainted with the store and employees as well as boasting many specific areas of the store and events. Through social media, followers become part of the Petersburg Hardware story and family. Wishing employees Happy Birthday, celebrating life events, and more, when you step into Petersburg Hardware, you are family.

Successfully getting the word out is one thing. But living up to the pledge it promises is another. Robin jumped full speed into the customer experience and events. Robin leads the team in designing new displays, planning events, and helping with community happenings. Events such as Customer Appreciation days, Bucket Sales, and Ladies’ Night draw customers to the store for an experience like none other. Each year the team is challenged to take each event to the next level. For the first Ladies’ Night (something they could never host in their old, cramped location), several hundred women showed up to play games and win prizes. Petersburg Hardware events are now a pillar and model for other independent hardware stores. 


The Smith family knows the success they’ve attained with their new store is directly tied to the support shown from their community. And there’s no shortage of ways they have demonstrated their appreciation for that support. In addition to sponsoring numerous fundraisers and civic groups through the donation of goods and financial support, the Smiths also lead by example by giving their time and talent to projects and organizations.


Eric and Robin Smith are moving forward with Petersburg Hardware setting records every day!  Overall sales in 2022 have nearly tripled since the Grand Opening year in 2016 and the Smith’s are always looking for how they can improve their community for their customer’s, employees, and their family.


The Smith’s are very thankful for the employees at Petersburg Hardware.  Without them, they could never serve the community like they do.  The employees receive never-ending compliments and even get reviews online about their kindness, helpfulness, and service.  They also lend a hand to Smith’s when it comes to their family.  The Smith’s, just like the Bishop’s, are raising three daughters in the hardware store.  When things get busy or when the Smith’s need a hand wrangling the three girls, the employees jump right in! For example, employees will step in to help the girls wrap gifts they chose for their parents to keep the surprise.  They sometimes also spoil and tease them too!


2019 Beacon Award winner for Best New Store over 20,000 square feet
2020 Scag Pro Gold Dealer
2020 HBS Dealer, Women in Hardware Rising Star Award – Robin Smith
2021 Young Retailer of the Year Award – Robin Smith
2022 HDS Dealer Magazine Next Gen Leader – Eric Smith