In 1999 Janice and Jerry Hoyt bought themselves a business. They have owned and operated Divide Supply in Greenwood ever since and have expanded the once-lumber yard into a full-service hardware and nursery outlet.
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“Neither one of us had any experience in retail,” said Janice, who had sold real estate on the Georgetown Divide for 24 years. “We have built up the business slowly.”
Listening to their customers, the Hoyts have added electrical, paint, auto supplies and nursery items, along with standard hardware and lumber supplies, to their list of products.
“Previously to our purchasing the business, it mostly catered toward contractors,” Janice added. “Jerry is the personality of the business. There is no stopping him. He truly is Mr. Helpful Hardware man.”
Part of the success of Divide Supply is that both Jerry and Janice do different things. Janice primarily sticks to the office end of the business while Jerry is out in front of the customers and enjoys helping them with projects.
“It’s a lot of fun” working with the customers, Jerry said. “I was a contractor for a while, so I learned the whats, wheres and whens of how to build a house. From plumbing to electrical, I’ve done it. If you haven’t done it yourself, it’s hard to explain to a customer how to do things.”
Providing a competitive market with the Home Depots and Lowes of the world, Jerry said his pricing strategy includes comparing prices from those businesses once a week.
“We have to be competitive,” he said. “Half of the people on the Divide drive to Sacramento daily and they pass a Home Depot or Lowes. The local community has supported us; without them we wouldn’t be here.”
Active in the community as well, Jerry is a member of the Georgetown Rotary Club, having served as president a couple of years ago, and the Divide Chamber of Commerce. Prior to purchasing Divide Supply, an Ace Hardware business, he worked as a liaison between Nissan car dealers and Calsonic. He was facing a major transfer out of California or a layoff, which prompted the entry into the business.
With a passion for gardening, Janice completed the Master Gardener program through El Dorado County just prior to buying the business. Since they respond to the call from the community, and the community had expressed a need for gardening supplies, Janice was in a position to deliver.
“We have reworked a few things over the years,” said Jerry. “We try to treat the customers fair. I believe you can make a living being fair to the customer.”
The Hoyts provide a selection of bare root trees among other popular plant materials. They have grandchildren who attend Northside School in Cool and participate in a large number of charitable outreach programs, which benefit the school and the community.
Entering their 13th year of business in 2012, the Hoyts obviously have done something right. The business has expanded through the years and even offers a rewards program, which allows customers to receive coupons in the mail that work like cash, by earning points for every dime they spend.
“Truly, it’s been the customers who have supported us that has made us successful,” said Jerry.
Divide Supply Inc. (Ace Hardware) is located on Highway 193 in Greenwood, and is open Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They can be reached at 530-885-7421.