In March 2012, after a year of planning, researching and remodeling, Keith Payne opened the doors to North Meridian Hardware in the former WFYI headquarters. Keith admits that when the idea first came to him, he was “shooting in the dark” – unsure of what he thought the need would be. Very few hardware stores operate in neighborhoods near downtown Indianapolis. North Meridian Hardware is the largest to open in the area in decades and is the biggest minority-owned, independent hardware store in Indiana.
Keith was very strategic with the space and the store. He conducted market research and looked at trends. He used his entrepreneurial skills and background in custom home building to design the structure (one in which he completely gutted).
He constantly reviews pricing updates and works to stay competitive in an urban market. Since opening, Keith has been able to remain price competitive with the larger stores while being a small, independently owned entity. He has planted his feet in the community and the community has embraced him – and his store.
The Indy Chamber awarded funds to Keith through their microlending program allowing him to build out existing space to lease on the second floor of the building. North Meridian Hardware is located on the ground level.
According to Keith, the loan was the “shot in the arm” he needed to complete the build out and he’s tremendously grateful. He also says he is encouraged and impressed that the Indy Chamber has embraced assisting small businesses. “It’s encouraging for a city to have a robust chamber and for them to recognize the need to assist small businesses.”
In addition to his microloan, Keith has benefited from the Indy Chamber’s connections and mechanics of the inner-workings of the city – a dynamic Keith plans to further explore. He looks forward to utilizing the broader scope of services and information offered by the Indy Chamber, including historical data that Keith plans to use for projections and growth.
Keith is encouraged by the response and welcome he’s received from the community. North Meridian Hardware is a one of a kind store that has its future set on supplying quality products to the community it’s rooted in and connected to. He’s confident he made the right decision to invest in the community and bring commerce to an area that was non-existent at the time of his investment.
Keith is also the owner of Affordable Building Supplies LLC on the city’s Near Eastside, which carries bulk items for construction companies. As a small business owner, Keith knows all to well that he’s lacking the resources his larger counterparts and competitors readily have available. However, he also knows that it’s the market that will ultimately determine the direction he’s going to set sail – and right now his sail is soaring.
For more information on the Indy Chamber’s microlending program, visit www.businessownership.org or call 317-917-3266.