The CHAGRIN HARDWARE COMPANY, originally known as Nettleton’s, was founded in January 1857 by Daniel Nettleton on Main Street in CHAGRIN FALLS, just north of the CHAGRIN RIVER. The original building was a three-story brick building, with the store on the first two floors and a Masonic Lodge on the third floor.
Elias Whitlock joined the business in 1862. When Whitlock hired Joseph Stoneman in 1865, the business was known as E. Whitlock & Company. Whitlock died in 1875, and control of the company passed to Stoneman and William Hutchings, who had purchased an interest in the store in 1871. During this time, the store was known as Stoneman & Hutchings.
Hutchings passed away in 1895. Stoneman then entered into business with his eldest son, John, renaming his store Stoneman & Son. When Joseph Stoneman retired in 1901, his son gained full control of the business. A new sign was posted on the storefront with the new name, J.W. Stoneman Co.
In 1911, John Stoneman merged his hardware company with his brother Richard’s coal business and W.T. Tambling’s automobile sales. The new company was incorporated under the name Stoneman Hardware Company. The company also began offering automobile repair services. In 1913, the company added Harley Davidson Motorcycles to its product offerings and a curbside gasoline service.
In August 1920, John Stoneman and Tambling sold their shares of the company to Jacob Weber and F.A. Williams. Richard Stoneman sold his share to W.A. Harris. Ford automobile sales were transferred to F.J. Tuttle of Detroit, Michigan, and the hardware store later halted sales of other automobile brands due to competition from new company dealerships.
During the 1920s, the store’s coal business was growing rapidly. George Arthur joined the company in 1922 to replace Harris. In 1926, the company changed its name to Hardware Supply & Coal Company in order to advertise all its sales under the same name. In 1929, Herbert G. Shiffel, a minister in BEDFORD, Ohio, joined the company to replace F.A. Williams.
In 1940, George Arthur purchased ownership of the coal, builders supply, and machinery divisions from the Hardware Supply & Coal Company. Arthur was replaced by James Bannerman, who, with partners Weber and Shiffel, continued with the operation of the general hardware business. At this time, the company name was changed to the Chagrin Hardware Company.
As the 20th century progressed, the company added household appliances to its product line, including washing machines, refrigerators, vacuums, and radios. In 1950, James Bannerman was the sole owner of the store. Following Bannerman’s death in 1965, the store was purchased by Ken and Jean Shutts. Jean Shutts’ interest in history and antiques led to the establishment of an antiques department in the store.
In 2015, the company was still owned and operated by the Shutts family. The store remained at its original location on Main Street in Chagrin Falls.
Jennifer Graham, Western Reserve Historical Society
History of the Chagrin Hardware Company by Don Barriball, Chagrin Falls Historical Society Press (2008).