The summer of 1986 found the village of Chittenango without a hardware store. Metcalf's Hardware had just closed after 70-plus years of doing business. Hoping to fill the void and begin new careers, Norm McGowan, his wife Ellen, Norm's daughter Debi Newton and husband Jim joined together as equal shareholders. They formed McGowan’s Hardware Inc., and the Metcalf building was leased. An extensive remodel and clean-up began with the removal of one whole wall to make a larger, contiguous sales floor. Starting with four bare walls, the new company began with a fresh coat of paint, while new, modern shelving replaced the old wooden shelves. The months of July and August saw a flurry of activity to get the new store ready for the Grand Opening, including adding additional items for purchase. The NYS Retail Hardware Association helped with merchandising and McGowan’s hit the ground running in late August of ‘86.
With the village growing and traffic through the downtown area getting heavier by the day, the decision to relocate was made in 1992. Property was purchased about 1/2 mile to the east and the four owners began to design a new and larger store. Construction began in July of '92. The store was designed with a 72' free span by 102' wide floor plan.
In 2007, after 21 years in business, we decided to partner with Do It Best Corp., the only US-based, member-owned comprehensive and fully integrated hardware, lumber and building materials buying cooperative in the home improvement industry. All the behind the scenes work for conversion began in earnest in early October of 2007. A team of Do It Best Corp. employees began the actual re-tagging of the store on December 3. Since the transition, the same quality employees and expert help ensure that McGowan’s Hardware is still the place for our customers to get all their hardware needs at the best prices around. In addition, our customers can shop for over 67,000 items online, and most of them can be delivered free for pick up right at our store.
In 2018, Norm and Ellen retired and Jim & Debi Newton became sole owners.