Started by married couple Tom and Betty Cottingham in 1957, Cottingham Hardware has been serving the residents of Alexandria for 65 years.
In recognition of their commitment to their business and community, Kentucky junior Sen. Rand Paul, a ranking member of the U.S. Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, honored Cottingham’s Hardware by naming it the Senate Small Business of the Week. On Dec. 23, Paul read a speech about Cottingham’s into the Congressional Record.
“Sixty-five years ago, Tom and Betty Cottingham opened Cottingham Hardware, a hardware store right in the heart of the little town of Alexandria, Kentucky,” Paul said. “Since its inception over six decades ago, the store has been dutifully serving its customers, offering them whatever hardware goods they might need, including but not limited to, specialty chrome, electrical lighting, as well as lawn and garden tools.”
Cottingham’s is owned and operated by Tom and Betty’s three sons: Mike, Tom and Joe, who took over for their parents in the mid-1990s. Originally located in central Alexandria, Cottingham’s moved to its current location at 8235 Alexandria Pike along US-27 in the mid-1980s.
“Started by a married couple, Cottingham Hardware continues to be a family business,” Paul said. “Tom and Betty’s three sons practically grew up in the store, so it would only make sense that the three men choose to perpetuate their parents’ dream and run the store with the same dedication and customer-friendly atmosphere that Tom and Betty created.”
The three brothers modernized their family business, replacing the manual inventory and registry systems with computerized systems. However, the main driver of Cottingham’s success is the brother’s strong commitment to their family which has propelled their business into the 21st century.
Cottingham’s has a company policy that states one of the owning brothers is required to be in the store during business hours. The trio is already ushering in a new era of family leadership by letting their children learn the ropes by working in the store.
“Clearly the Cottingham family is dedicated not only to running a successful family business, but to championing and supporting small businesses around the state as well,” Paul said. “For that reason, it gives me great pleasure to honor this multi-generation family business as the Senate Small Business of the Week.”