The fact that Aultman’s is a small, family-owned and operated business is one reason why customers like it.

And like other mom-and-pop stores, Aultman’s has its own competitive edge.

Martin “Junior” Burdoff was one of the original owners of Aultman’s, which opened in 1964, and passed the business down to his children. Junior and his wife Jo still work there today.

“People like the ability to come right in downtown,” said Jeff Burdoff, who now owns the business with his sister Janis Beckner and brother Michael Burdoff. “They don’t have to drive out of the Fairmont area.”

Aultman’s, located on Virginia Avenue in Fairmont, has a large inventory and assortment for a small store, he said.

The business carries “anything that has to do with your residential-type plumbing,” such as faucets, toilets, sinks and the parts that go with them. Aultman’s also has furnaces, ductwork, hardware, hand tools, garden tools, electrical items and water pumps.

In addition, the store offers chain, rope and pipe, and an affiliation with True Value Hardware allows it to carry cleaning supplies, paints and stains.

“We are very competitive price-wise, but how we stay in business is our sales staff is extremely knowledgeable,” Jeff said. “These guys all have done that type of work.”

If shoppers go to a franchise or big-box store, sometimes they’ll find workers who aren’t very helpful, he said. But the 11 employees at Aultman’s are experienced and know about the products.

The staff of Aultman’s can show people what they need to fix a problem and can explain how to do the repairs, which gives the store a competitive edge.

“The other advantage we have is we have a lot of specific parts, like furnace parts and faucet parts, that not any of the big boxes would have,” Jeff said.

DeMary’s Market in Rivesville has felt an impact from the presence of big-box stores, owner Rich DeMary said.

Certain companies don’t want to distribute products to a store unless it makes large orders, and they may give businesses a better deal if they order a certain amount. But Rich said it’s difficult for small businesses to order these big minimums.

“It should be the same price for everyone, whether you buy a tractor trailer load (or a small load),” he said. “Big sales are what they want, and it’s hard for small businesses to do that.”

Rich said DeMary’s Market tries to “concentrate on a few good things versus a whole wide variety of things.” The business really focuses on making its products exceptional.

DeMary’s Market is known for its fresh meats — like sausage, ground chuck and chicken — and attracts customers from the local area.

This country store offers a variety of items, such as produce, milk, pop, chips, bread, ham salad, pasta salad and more. DeMary’s Market has a carry-out kitchen with a lunch menu that includes sandwiches, hot dogs and other items.

“They like the old-time country store,” Rich said of his customers. “We haven’t changed too much.”

DeMary’s Market celebrated its 70th anniversary on July 30.

Pete DeMary, Rich’s grandfather, opened the store in 1938, and Fred DeMary, Rich’s father, later took over the business. Rich began working at DeMary’s Market in 1981 and became the owner 10 years later. Rich’s father Fred and mother Mary Jane are retired but still help out at the store.

Rich encouraged people to support the local small businesses.

E-mail Jessica Legge at jlegge@timeswv.com.

Trending Video

Recommended for you