NFIB Massachusetts Member Profile: Bill Round of Round's True Value Hardware

Date: March 15, 2016 Last Edit: March 17, 2016

For 56 years, Round’s True Value Hardware store has watched over downtown Stoneham, Mass. While owner Bill Round and his family have owned the property since 1960, the small business has had to adapt to many changes over the past half century.

NFIB Massachusetts Member Profile: Bill Round of Round’s True Value Hardware

Name: Bill Round

Business: Round’s True Value Hardware

Location: Stoneham, Mass.

For 56 years, Round’s True Value Hardware store has watched over downtown Stoneham, Mass. While owner Bill Round and his family have owned the property since 1960, the small business has had to adapt to many changes over the past half century.

For one, new regulations have hampered Round’s ability to do business, he says. Legislation such as the Fair Scheduling Act and one week of compulsory sick pay have driven up costs without new business to make up for it.

Round believes millennials are a large reason for the shifting economy. “It’s a disposable society; people don’t fix things anymore,” Round says. Instead of repairing something that is damaged, a lot of people will just go buy a new one, Round says. He also blames the rise of the “hyper self-service” economy—things such as self-checkouts at grocery stores and online retailers such as Amazon—for the decline in business at his store.

“I think people are going to wake up and find there aren’t a lot of downtown businesses,” Round says.

He has worked hard to establish his business, fighting regulations every step of the way. For example, the hardware store didn’t have a parking lot right away, so during rush hour cars would crowd the streets and no one could come into the store because of the traffic jam, Round says.

Although the situation was clearly hurting Round’s business, local government officials wouldn’t allow him to construct a parking lot due to zoning laws. “It’s a very tough feeling going to a committee that doesn’t want to help you,” Round says. For times like these, it’s been helpful to have the backing of NFIB, Round says.

Round believes government often doesn’t look out for the interests of small business, so it’s nice to have an advocate working to promote laws that do, he says. “Portions of our government have been captured by one organization or another,” he says.

Having NFIB as an ally gives Round peace of mind in a rapidly evolving economy. “I think to be out there without an umbrella is to be exposed,” Round says.

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