By Taylor Rexrode
A Waco alumnus is giving the oldest hardware and lumber store in Waco a makeover.
Accounting alumnus Larry Dagley and his wife Norma Dagley, an Alumna by Choice, bought the store last year as a venture into the retail market.
“It was a business opportunity and something I had never done before,” Dagley said. “It’s a great location and just down from Baylor. It was an opportunity to do something I hadn’t done in life.”
Circle Hardware and Lumber, established in 1945 on La Salle Avenue, sells hardware, electrical supplies, paint and accessories, lumber, lawn and garden tools and other items for residential and commercial needs.
Dagley said he hopes the renovations will expand the store, particularly in plumbing supplies, light bulbs and door and cabinet hardware.
The store will remain open for business through renovations, which will expand the store from 3,800 square feet to 5,800 square feet by mid-May.
When the Dagleys took over Circle Hardware, they signed up as members of the Do It Best co-op.
Do It Best helps independently owned home improvement retailers by keeping prices comparable to those found at retail giants like Home Depot and Lowe’s.
Brent Watts, manager of the Waco Do It Best warehouse, said Do It Best helps small businesses and customers get what they need in Waco.
“We carry hardware, lawn and garden, paint, ranching supplies, sporting goods,” Watts said. “It’s a wide array, but it’s much more than just hardware. In the co-op structure, the members actually own the company. Our members can buy in bulk so they can take advantage of large quantities of discounted items.”
Dagley said having a co-op nearby like Do It Best is a blessing for his business.
“Having that size warehouse in your backyard makes sense,” Dagley said. “It’s a terrific organization that allows us to get a product we don’t have in the store to the customer the next day.”
Working with Do It Best and the store renovations may help business, but it hasn’t changed the store’s focus on service.
“We are increasing the product mix,” Dagley said. “But we are still wanting to keep what has made the store successful in the past and that’s great service. Our customers are individual homeowners, remodelers and restoration companies and all those people down near Baylor. We want to be the one-stop shop for them to come in and get what they need to maintain their properties.”
Dagley has not always worked in retail.
Upon receiving his Bachelor of Business Administration in 1970, he moved to Houston and worked as an auditor for Arthur Andersen and Company for 15 years.
He eventually became chief administrative officer and chief financial officer for Transco Energy Co. and then CFO of Pacific Enterprises in California. The Dagleys moved to Waco in 2002 because he said he had “had enough of corporate life.”
Before moving back to Waco, Dagley stayed involved with Baylor in the years after graduating.
He was on the Accounting Department Advisory Board during the 1980s and was a regular season ticket holder for Baylor baseball, basketball and football for years.
“We’ve been great Baylor supporters through the years,” he said. “Baylor laid the groundwork for me to not only be an accountant but a businessman.”
Dagley said he is thankful for the years he spent at Baylor building lifelong relationships and connections.
“There were great professors who cared about me and they were interested in what I was going to do with the rest of my life,” he said. “Looking back on all those years, I think the training and experience I got made me a prepared for the business world. Never did I dream that I would own a hardware store but the friendships I made at Baylor laid the groundwork for it. You never know where life is going to take you.”