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Industry Veteran Dawson Taylor Celebrates 100th Birthday

Taylor’s Do it Centers is pleased to announce the milestone celebration of hardware veteran Dawson Taylor’s 100th birthday and his 70-year-long career in the home improvement industry. He will celebrate his 100th birthday on April 2, 2023.

Taylor is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and World War II veteran. In 1950, he joined a single-store hardware and building materials company that his father started along with several partners. Fifteen years later, he split off to start a sister operation and converted a 35,000 sq. ft. former steel fabrication plant into one of the first home centers on the East Coast, including indoor displays of lumber and building materials and a full assortment of hardlines.

Over the past 60 years, the business has flourished, growing into a 21-store independent hardware store chain that stretches from Richmond, Virginia, to northeastern North Carolina. Taylor’s Do it Centers and Pleasants Hardware are known for their innovative advertising, broad selection of products and the special connections they have built over multiple generations with their customers and community. That powerful combination of expert service and extensive product selection has allowed them to drive continued success even in the face of big-box competition.

The enjoyment Taylor received from running the business and experiencing the success he achieved encouraged all his children (sons Bob, Russ and Joe and daughter Buff who passed away in 1997) to get involved in the business. Today, he has five members of the family’s fourth generation engaged in the stores’ operations.

“Having a dad who’s a wonderfully loving role model has been a blessing,” Joe says. “It’s even more special that I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy growing the business alongside him for all these years.”

Taylor has been both a business and civic entrepreneur and leader and has engaged in numerous activities to strengthen his community.

His sons have followed in his leadership footsteps. Bob Taylor served as company president, as well as chairman of the board of directors for Do it Best, their company’s co-op partner. He later stepped away from the family business to lead the co-op as its president and CEO. Russ Taylor serves as the company’s vice president and COO. Youngest son Joe Taylor is now the president of Taylor’s Do it Centers and Pleasants Hardware and also serves as the current chairman of the board of directors for Do it Best.

“My father was a great mentor in every aspect of my life: my faith, my family and our business. In the business, I benefited greatly from his willingness to share responsibility with me early on for key projects,” Bob says. “Yes, I made a few mistakes, but I learned so very much from those opportunities.”

The family invites the home improvement community to share their good wishes with Dawson Taylor with a card or note. All correspondence can be sent to the attention of his granddaughter Meg Taylor Walbridge at 1636 Industrial Park Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23451 or via email at mtaylor@taylorsdoit.com.

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