By Lorcan McCormick
Special to The Enterprise
On Friday, Nov. 10 Vaughan Brothers Hardware will hold a grand opening ceremony to celebrate its return as a provider for jobs and community needs.
“It flattened this building.” Keith Kemp, Vaughan’s new owner, comments in regards to the effects of Dresden’s devastating 2021 tornado. The hardware store was completely destroyed, which put pressure on what direction to take for the prior owner, “the prior owner was Jerry Rachels from Palmersville. It’s been here since 1946 when Vaughan Brothers opened it. So, I heard that Jerry was not sure if he wanted to put the store back or not. When he decided to not go back in, he contacted us. About a month later, middle of May or so, we had two mini barns here – 16X44 and a 16×40.”
The larger barn was used as the interim store, while the smaller was used as a mini warehouse while the steel for the new building was being cut. Over the ensuing months, the outside skin of the building was erected, with the interior being spray foamed and finally the glass work being applied.
“People are very loyal to Vaughan Brothers and we appreciate the community and their loyalty to our business.”
The revival of Vaughan’s is more than just a story of a store’s comeback; it is also the story of the perseverance of the Dresden community. The Kemps themselves are such examples; Keith is a CPA and Pam owns the Floral Garden in Dresden; when the storm hit, they were devastated personally.
“Obviously we lived out across from Kountry Korner. We lived out there and we lost everything that night but the clothes on our backs.”
After the tornado, the Kemps lived in Keith’s office building for months due to the tornado’s destruction of their home. Knowing personally what the tornado caused in terms of damage to families in Dresden, the Kemp’s are proud to be returning normalcy and services to the community.
“We put five or six people back to work who didn’t have a job.” An example of this is Jerry Gallimore, who has worked for Vaughan’s since he was 16 years of age, with the occasional break to do other jobs. Such is the case of how far the roots of Vaughan’s are embedded in Dresden, and the meaning of its revival to the local economy.
Affiliated with Orgill Brothers out of Covington, Tenn., Vaughn’s offers a catalog that is estimated at 200 pages, with further options available on their computer. Orgill Brothers catalog stocks 70,000 items, while Vaughan’s stock over 10,000 in store.
“I invite anyone from the public to come by the store to type it into our computer and we probably got it.” Sourced out of a warehouse in Sikeston, Mo., materials are never more than two days away by truck, though in the event of a serious emergency, it is possible the materials can be retrieved day of from the warehouse. “If I don’t have it and I can get it I’ll get it for them or find a vendor that does.”
On Nov. 10 with the grand-opening ceremony, festivities and giveaways will be made aplenty to the public: Rustoleum, Irwin Tools, DeWalt Tools and Case Knife will be present offering giveaways items such as a drill driver impact set, knives and a chainsaw.
Food vendors will also be there, among them are Sweet Jordan’s and Choppin’ Block Ranch. The grand opening will transition to a Christmas open house on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. In speaking on what it means to him personally, Keith defers to others, “to us it means that we salvaged and resurrected a very viable business for our community. We salvaged jobs for our community that had been gone. And we continue the small-town practice of being available when you need us in emergencies.” And to his faith, he also defers, “everything we do is by the grace of God and all credit goes to Him.”
Vaughan Brothers Hardware Store is located on 134 Pikeview St., Dresden. Give the team a call at 731-364-3331.