Shean’s Hardware is truly a family business.

First of all the store has been owned and operated by the same family for over 60 years.

In 1946, Paul Shean and his wife Orralee took over the business from Orralee’s father who had started the store just a couple years before.

The store was first opened in Arnett, but it was eventually moved to Woodward in 1956.

Paul and Orralee opened up shop in the 600 block of Main Street, where they stayed for seven years before moving to the current location at 812 Texas Ave. in 1963.

The Shean’s had two sons: Keith and Ken. Although Ken, who was the youngest, had moved to California for a while, he returned in the mid-1970s to help out in the business.

By the early 1990s, Ken had taken over as president of the business, which had grown into a corporation.

But what makes the business truly a family business is not the fact that its ownership and management has been passed down from father to son.

Rather it is because all the store’s employees are a part of the family, whether or not their last name is Shean.

“We may not all have the same last name, but there is a bond (between us),” said Raymond Barnard, a salesman at Shean’s for almost seven years.

He said part of that bonding has stemmed from the birthday parties Ken and his wife Carol have held for each of their employees and the Christmas dinners they host at their house.

“We have a lot of fun,” said Louise Ogden, who has been a bookkeeper with the store for approximately 10 years.

In addition to birthday parties and Christmas dinners, Ogden said they also have fun with some of their own little inside jokes.

One of their favorite jokes has to do with “The Convertible.” While you may think it odd for a hardware store to have a convertible, you may or may not be comforted by the fact that “The Convertible” is not a car.

In fact, “The Convertible” is a really old forklift, which has earned its title because of the fact that, unlike newer models, it does not have a cage where the driver sits.

Shean’s Hardware has been home to “The Convertible” since 1984, but the forklift was originally manufactured in the 1940s.

“It’s been an awful good machine,” Carol said. “You just have to know the quirks of it.”

Carol said it is no wonder that the employees feel like family, because that is how she and her husband have always seen them.

She said many of their employees, even before she and Ken took over, have stayed with the business for a long time.

In fact, Bob Underwood, who began with the company when Paul and Orralee first took over, had a nice long career of 45 years at Shean’s Hardware.

Several other employees have stayed for 10 years or more, Carol said.

Working together for such a long time has allowed everyone to become close.

“We’ve just become a family over the years,” she said.

“We’re close,” Ogden said.

Carol said this close connection has helped keep the business going for the past two years.

During that time she and Ken have often been kept away from the business in order for Ken to receive treatments for leukemia.

Barnard said because the Sheans are like family to them, the employees have sacrificed their time and energy, working numerous hours of overtime to keep the store up and running.

“If it wasn’t for employees being so dedicated the store probably wouldn’t be here today,” he said.

Whoever said the mice will play while the cats are away must not be familiar with the employees at Shean’s Hardware.

“Everyone still gets up and comes to work on time,” Barnard said.

Carol said she and Ken are very appreciative of their employees and their dedication.

But it is not only the employees that have shown such dedication and loyalty.

Carol said their customers have also been quite loyal, especially those who have continued to shop there since the store first came to Woodward over 50 years ago.

Barnard said the Sheans “live in the community, support the community and (so) the community supports them.”

The customers have also become like family, Carol said, as they come in year after year and swap stories in addition to asking for home maintenance and improvement advice.

Ken said it was this social nature of the hardware business that really encouraged him to continue his parents’ business.

He said he also enjoyed the opportunity to help others.

According to Barnard, it is the Sheans’ dedication to helping others, to truly showing their customers personal service and to opening up their family to their customers and employees that has made family store such a lasting success.

“There’s nothing in the store that can’t be bought somewhere else,” he said, “but it’s the service and knowing the people that has kept (Shean’s) going.”

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