Swift True Value Hardware serves community for 150 years

Published: May. 21, 2019 at 3:30 PM EDT
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For the past 150 years, the Swift family has been serving the Upper Peninsula through the store now known as Swift True Value Hardware.

“I was just told yesterday the Eifel tower is 130 years old. So they are small potatoes compared to us," said Owner, Marilyn Swift.

The store originally started in Ishpeming, when Michigan Senator William Swift opened a supply house targeted toward the mining industry.

“And towards the end of the century, he decided to come to Houghton, Michigan and decided to open another branch and go ahead and deal with the Minnesota iron range and the copper industry that was starting up here in the Copper County," continued Marilyn.

The shop was known as I.E. Swift Company, named after William's wife, Ida Euphoria. When William passed away, his sons, Marilyn's grandfather and great uncle, closed the Ishpeming store and focused on running the Houghton store.

In 1910, the Swift brothers opened a new store located right on Lake Superior that would later become Swift True Value Hardware.

“It was a four story building with huge warehouse in the back because they dealt with all of the railroads, getting the products in an out."

Eventually the business moved again to its current location.

Eventually, in 1946, Marilyn’s father started to run the business when the brothers retired.

“When he got a little bit older, my brother took it over. And then, after my brother took it over, he wanted to retire- and my father had passed away- and he came to me and said ‘Well what are you going to do with the store?’"

Marilyn has been running the store for seven years now. Today, the store has everything from hardware, gifts, and toys and serves as a staple to the community.

“There’s a lot of things here that you can’t find at your larger retailers, like all of these custom lotions and soaps, I mean people like to shop locally around here," said frequent customer, Janelle Copolen, "Like I could go to Wal-Mart and find this stuff, but I like to shop local.”