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A colorful combination between business and school

Written by Mike Siroky. Posted in Business Spotlight

Published on October 12, 2011 with No Comments

Talk about your day brightener.

Hobart True Value Hardware donated 40 gallons of paint to spice up George L. King Elementary in Portage.

Nicole Haller now manages her dad’s store, keeping a family tradition. Her dad still works there, of course. It is that kind of place. The Hallers have owned True Value in Hobart since 1965, though her dad worked there before he bought it.

“I’ve sent out letters every year (about the paint donation program),” Nicole said. “Every school, public or private, is eligible.

“But this is the first year True Value picked our applicant.”

She said King elementary chose a mixture of colors for a variety of projects.

“I know they had a gallon of red, four of white, some beige . . . “ she said.

George L. Myers Elementary Principal Jeff King said, “It was just a tremendous opportunity for us to vastly improve the facilities we have and to make the school a warmer, more friendly environment for our children.

“We hope we did True Value proud in the way we used the generous donation.”

Paint is not the only donations they have made to their community.

“We give to silent auctions, support teams, help out whenever we can,” she said.

The paint program from the national headquarters is just the latest.

“It is a great program, all at no cost and we deliver the paint right to their door,” she said.

Nicole said she enjoys knowing her family has 80 years’ experience in the hardware business.

“We know what we are talking about and we stand behind what we recommend,” she said.

“We do training every year. This year, for instance, I did Scott’s training for fertilizer, to be certified to sell it correctly.”

That is something seldom seen in the big box stores.

“I’ve been to color school (for paint) and we all take turns going to different training,” she said. “Five or six of us will switch so we all get trained.

“Product knowledge is important.”

And yet there are new things to be learned.

“We just got the machine to cut automotive keys, so if you have a new car and it has a microchip in the one key that comes with the car, we can duplicate it at a lesser cost than a dealership,” she said.

“Also new this year – and customers were waiting for it – are the paints with primer and top coat in one so you don’t have to paint twice.”

The True Value company is starting the application process for 2012’s paint donations.

They say it is a mission of the company to allow students to received an education in “well-maintained” environments.”

They see new paint as a solution to energize otherwise dreary classrooms.

The program issues up to 40 gallons of paint to more than 100 schools each year. The paint is delivered by local True Value retailers, so they keep the connection in the hometowns.

The company estimates, since its inception in 2009, that True Value has covered more than 3 million square feet of classrooms “with a fresh coat of assistance.”

They base this mission on the facts they have discovered that more than 14 million American children attend deteriorating schools. About 30 percent of rural, 38 percent of urban and 29 percent of suburban schools have at least one building requiring extensive repair. The True Value Foundation offers a selection of colors from which to choose.

To qualify for the 2012 project, applications must be made before the end of November.

True Value reviews all applications and recommends action to the True Value Foundation board of directors. Included in the review can be “before” pictures showing the classrooms in need of paint. The True Value grants can be combined with other grants.

For more information on the work of the True Value Foundation, visit http://truevaluecompany.com.

For more information on Hobart Lumber, call 219-942-1178 (Hobart) or 219-762-3211 (Valparaiso).

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About Mike Siroky

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed in the above excellent column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Mike Siroky is a writer and editor. He is a native of Northwest Indiana. He has worked in media from coast to coast. To contact Mike, email mikel@the chronicleNWI.com

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