Yeager Hardware was founded in Van Buren, Arkansas, in a tiny, 3,600-square foot building at 910 Broadway by Ernest Yeager in 1959. “My dad always thought it would be neat to have a hardware store”, says son, Ed, who came to work as the store’s manager in 1966. “We didn’t have an intercom, so if we needed something from the back, we just yelled. That’s how small it was,” says Deborah Clark.
Ernest sold the store to Ed in 1982, the same year it moved to a larger location at 1401 E. Main Street. Yeager’s was moved to its present location in Van Buren at 1610 E. Main Street in 1984, and with that move, a new lumberyard was added.
In 1987, a second location was opened on Midland Avenue across the Arkansas River in Fort Smith. That store was moved to its current spot at 2619 Rogers Avenue in 1990. Yeager’s next location was another combination hardware and lumberyard at 4910 Jenny Lind in Fort Smith opening in 1992. The Greenwood Yeager’s was also a combination hardware and lumberyard and opened in 2001.
Ed’s daughters, Deborah and Karen, grew up working in the stores. Deborah joined the business in 1990, and now oversees the Jenny Lind and Greenwood locations. Karen oversaw the Rogers Ave. location until her death in 2011. Ed remains very involved and is at the Van Buren location. Each attributes Yeager’s continued success to the organization’s management group and team members, many of which have been with the company for years. “We value each customer, many of whom are now friends after so many years,” said Ed. “We strive to give our customers the best possible service, and the best possible price. It is truly a pleasure to have helped so many people for over 50 years. We appreciate your business.”