Shively Hardware: Serving the North Platte Valley and south central Wyoming since 1925
Joe Glode’s grandparents Ed J. and Pearl Shively came to Saratoga in the 1920s and bought the hardware store on Dec. 14, 1925.
“It’s been in the family ever since then,” he says.
Joe’s dad John Glode was a Rhode Island native and came to Wyoming during the Great Depression with the Civilian Conservation Service and met his wife Jane at the University of Wyoming.
The family consisted of Joe’s brothers Jack and Mike and sister Mary Beth. After attending Creighton University, Joe and his brother Mike returned home to help run the store; they ran the store for 50 years. Today, the store is managed by Joe and his son Ed J.
“The implement dealership and hardware store were all one until my son Ed J. came home in 1998, and we decided to buy another location in 1999-2000. We then left the hardware store downtown and split the locations,” says Joe. “The hardware store remains downtown and the dealership remains outside of town to this day.”
He continues, saying, “My brother Mike continues to run the downtown store and my son Ed J. and I continue to run this place, but it’s all one entity.”
“It’s always been, particularly in the older days, almost exclusively servicing either the timber industry and/or the agriculture industry,” he explains. “Those are the two big resource areas. Now, of course, recreation has gotten bigger and secondary and retirement homes are a big part of it.”
The downtown store mainly serves the new generation of development, while the dealership continues to mainly serve the agriculture community in the area, he notes.
Innovations and challenges
Since 1925, the hardware store has seen a variety of innovations over the years in agriculture.
“The biggest change, as far as agriculture is concerned, is the machinery part being a lot more expensive,” says Joe. “They are a lot more productive – there’re fewer machines, bodies and families working in the field and on the ranches; and a lot of it has to do with the tractors and machinery being so much more productive today than it ever was before.”
Advances in machinery allow individuals to work more efficiently than before, he mentions.
“Many of the ranches have gotten considerably bigger, and there are less family ranches and more corporate ranches,” he adds.
The store has faced challenges through the years, particularly with water management, says Ed J.
“There’s always the political arena – it seems every election year is another entertaining time to study the books,” he jokes. “We definitely count on water a lot, so the droughts are typically really hard on us.”
“If the government and weather would get out of the way, we’d probably be just fine,” he jokes.
Shively Hardware offers many different services to the Carbon County community.
“I try not to sell something I cannot service,” mentions Joe. “Our radius is probably at a maximum of about 100 miles – we can sell further out than that, but our service typically resides within a 100-mile radius.”
Customers mainly reside in Baggs, Laramie, Rock River, Medicine Bow and Walden, Colo., he says.
“Surprisingly enough, the store sells a number of outdoor power products and tires,” shares Joe. “I sell a lot of pipe, irrigation and fencing stuff – it’s not usually glamorous, but we sell a lot of it.”
“The number one department in the downtown store is the plumbing department,” he adds. “They have everything.”
Ed J. is the fourth generation of the store. He notes he is the only one of nine cousins to come home and continue the Shively Hardware legacy.
“I started sweeping floors downtown in 1981, and I started working the counter and helping out in 1986,” he shares. “I then moved to Minnesota in 1991 to study finance and moved home in 1998 – I’ve been home ever since.”
Ed J. shares a favorite part of his job is the people he gets to work with and the history of the store.
“The store is nearly 97 years old, and there is a lot of neat family history and nostalgia here,” he says.
“I love being able to serve Carbon County and the agriculture community,” he shares. “I try not to eat steak three times per day, but I try to eat it at least twice – we need to have our cattle and support our communities.”
In addition to working with his dad Joe, Ed J. enjoys spending time with Bailey his 15-year-old daughter and 19-year-old daughter Kelly during the summer months working at the store.
“We will be doing our 100th anniversary on Dec. 15, 2025,” he concludes. “That’s our plan, and we continue to serve this community for many more years to come.”
Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to email@example.com.