MADISON TOWNSHIP -- Tosha Dawson Gerhart knows all about hometown pride. She has lived in Madison township all her life. So when she and her husband, Terry, decided to open their own wholesale shop, they saw it as a chance to make a positive impact in their own backyard.
Gerhart’s Wholesale 42 buys and resells overstock, shelf pulls and open box merchandise from its storefront at 1399 Ashland Road. When the store had its grand opening recently, Gerhart said she was pleasantly surprised by a parking lot full of curious customers.
"As a Madison resident and Mansfield native, I’m thrilled about it," said Kelli Chinn, who stopped by on the store's opening day. "It was clean, bright and full of trendy, new décor - plus lots of other household items. The owners were right there to greet us. We browsed around and were pleasantly surprised with prices."
Business has continued to be steady during the store’s first week, as residents browse the selection of furniture, tools, housewares and kitchen appliances.
Crestline resident Nikki Miller Briggs said she stopped by with her husband to find a new bed for her son.
"I was very impressed with the cleanliness of the store as well as the selection," she said. "We were able to find exactly what we needed. We will definitely be shopping there again."
The Gerharts believe their store, which consists of a 4,500 square foot showroom, will help fill the retail gap left behind by some of the big box stores that have left the township.
“There’s nothing in the Madison area,” she said. “We had a lot of friends and family in the area and we knew it would benefit the community.”
As a wholesale retailer, the Gerharts buy their merchandise by the truckload. Most of the items are overstock or shelf pulls from other retailers, all new and discounted from the original price.
“I think it’s more of a community thing,” she said. “We’re middle class people, we’re working hard for our money and it’s nice to get a deal.”
In addition to bargain hunting, Gerhart said many of the customers have enjoyed sharing their memories of the building’s history. According to Gerhart, the building previously housed Wyatt’s Grocery Store, Jerry’s Home Furnishings and Wild Willy’s Bar.
The Gerharts spent about four months rehabbing the property from top to bottom. The couple replaced the lighting, painted the walls, floors and trim, fixed the drooping ceiling tiles and gave the structure a thorough cleaning before setting up shop.
Shoppers are invited to check out the store Monday thru Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.