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A.F. Boyer

Service Is More Than a Name at A.F. Boyer Hardware

Reaching over 150 years in business is no easy feat, but is a milestone that A.F. Boyer Hardware & Guns in Slatington, Pennsylvania, has achieved. 

The company started in 1868 as a quarry supply company and general hardware store. Current owner Abel Boyer, the fifth generation of Boyers to own and operate the business, says the company has never lost touch with its customers whose product needs have changed over the years. The Boyer family has also maintained a high level of customer service since opening thanks to a commitment to hard work, Abel says. 

“My family instilled hard work into me at a young age. You work hard, and you get to reap some rewards,” Abel says. “It’s a very rewarding thing as a hardware store owner to know you’re helping people as well.”

Abel and his wife Shannon bought the store in 2021 from Abel’s parents and oversee store operations, which include a traditional hardware store and firearms and ammunition shop. Plumbing and electrical are big categories for the store. 

“We have an old-time hardware store feel with wooden floors, high ceilings and a friendly atmosphere mixed with the modern products our customers want and need,” Abel says. 

A.F. Boyer sells different licenses—fishing, hunting, dog and more—and offers services like key cutting, pipe threading, window screen repair and blade sharpening. A.F. Boyer is a leader in  the state in background checks for firearms.

“I really pride myself on being able to keep both hardware and firearms going but also having such a large volume,” Abel says. “It’s nothing to have people drive six, eight hours round trip to come see our store, which is neat.”

Another key to A.F. Boyer’s success has been its commitment to the community. The company regularly donates to police events, sponsors local activities and supports youth sports teams, schools and other area organizations. Abel personally takes part in borough meetings and serves as vice president of a local fishing organization. 

A.F. Boyer’s employees—the current 17 staff members plus all the employees over the years—are another critical component of success. 

“Our employees mean everything to us,” Abel says. “You can’t run a ship with just a couple of people, and the people we employ are very friendly and always ready to help our customers.”

Family Legacy Runs Deep

The store was originally named Boyer Bros. after owners Abel and Henry Boyer. It later was changed to A. F. Boyer Hardware after Abner Franklin Boyer, Henry’s son, took over. All male owners since then have had a first name that starts with A and a middle name that begins with F. A few years after arriving home from WWII, Abner’s son, Alden F. Boyer became owner. 

After Alden’s death in 1973, his wife Dorothy and their three children—Linda, Nancy and Allan—kept the store running until Allan became owner. Allan and his wife Debbie had two sons, Asher and Abel. Asher passed away in 2004 and Allan sold the store to Abel in 2021. Allan and Debbie are still involved with the day-to-day operations. 

Abel and Shannon have two young boys of their own—Alden and Archer—who they hope will take over the business day and carry on the family legacy. 

“All the males in my family have the initials A F B, and we’ve continued that tradition with our sons. The running joke is it’d be too expensive to change the sign out,” Abel says. “We love that the boys are growing up in the hardware store like I did. My two-year-old knows all of our employees’ names and loves to see them.”

Not resting on their laurels, Abel and Shannon have big dreams for the store in the next five years, ten years and beyond.

“Our dreams and goals are to expand,” Abel says. “We have a very nice footprint where we’re located, but we have outgrown it. We want to stay in the same location and try to expand in different ways to provide more products to customers. We’d like to hire a few more people as well. Overall, we just want to expand the business and help more people.”

Read more about other retailers with benchmark anniversaries in our Milestones section.

About Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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