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Tom Hanks Moving to Lawrenceville?

Click bait titles. They stink. You’re checking out what’s going on in the world of your friends and family on facebook, and all of the sudden one of your friends shares an article about “The top 10 uses of WD40 that the democratic party doesn’t want you to know about.”

OK. That didn’t necessarily happen to me yesterday, but one of my friends on facebook did lure me with a click bait link. He posted a link to an article that was purporting that Oscar winning actor, Tom Hanks was moving to Lawrenceville, Georgia.

I clicked on it and immediately realized that it was a satirical news site. Not true. In fact there is probably some code behind the post that allows “Lawrenceville” to be exchanged for any small town city name in America.

Alas, Tom Hanks is probably NOT moving to Lawrenceville, Georgia.

But all day long, I was thinking about Tom Hanks roles and at some point I visualized Forrest Gump on his Snapper Lawn Tractor.

And it got me thinking… What kind of mower would Forrest Gump use today. Surely, he wouldn’t use a lawn tractor.

“Stupid is as stupid does.”


I think Forrest Gump would spend some of that Bubba Gump Shrimp Company money on an Exmark Lazer Z.

He’d know that comparing a zero-turn to lawn tractor is really no comparison.

  • His productivity would be greater
  • His maneuverability would be easier
  • His quality of cut would be more professional
  • The durability of the mower would be the best there is.

The bottom line is the Exmark Lazer Z would probably be the last mower that Forrest Gump would need to buy.


Soon, Forrest would be saying:

“That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little mow. So I mowed to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d mow to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d just mow across Gwinnett County. And I figured, since I mowed this far, maybe I’d just mow across the great state of Georgia. And that’s what I did. I mowed clear across Georgia. For no particular reason I just kept on going. I mowed clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going.” – Forrest




Pride in Legacy: A Couple of Decades Later

The year was 1996, when just down the road we hosted the greatest athletic competition in history: The Olympics. In Georgia, there was a great sense of pride in our city and state. Southern hospitality was given to all who came from every competing country on the planet. For the first time thus far in our history, we were able to take MARTA towards Midtown, or hop in our cars to various venues around the state, to root not for the Dawgs or the Yellow Jackets, but instead for the team we call our nation.

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Riverside Mower in Athens is Now Howard Brothers’ Fifth Location

Doug and John Howard of Howard Brothers with Sandra and Roger Sullivan of Riverside Mower
Doug and John Howard of Howard Brothers with Sandra and Roger Sullivan of Riverside Mower

We are very excited to announce that Howard Brothers is now in Athens, Georgia. The details behind this new location are important, and one day, we will be sure to get them captured for the record, but for now, let’s talk about Athens.

Riverside Mower, owned by Roger and Sandra Sullivan, has been serving the outdoor power equipment needs of Athens and surrounding areas for over 30 years. Being in our industry for that long, we know it takes a whole lot more than just having the products and the location.  All you have to do is talk to their customers and you’ll immediately learn that words like trust, integrity, loyalty, are keywords that have been the foundation of the relationships that have been built at Riverside.

Folks from all over the region have driven in to Athens to do business with Riverside and the folks there.

Because Riverside sells some similar brands to Howard Brothers like STIHL, the Howards and Sullivans have had many opportunities to get to know each other. A few months ago, Roger and Sandra approached us to consider purchasing their business so that they could retire.

Roger and Sandra emphasized early on, they wanted to be sure that their customers and their employees, were going to be taken care of, and the area would continue to have a trustworthy partner in the outdoor power equipment business.

Officially today, March 1, Riverside Mower is now Howard Brothers.

Bruce Tate, our Parts Manager from our Oakwood store has been with Howard Brothers for 10 years. He joins the team in Athens and recognizes that he has a lot to learn about the people and the area, but he is up for the challenge. Be sure to go by and meet him.

As for Roger and Sandra, you’ll still see them in the store for a while. They are committed to helping us out during the transition. You’ll probably begin to see some changes around the store as we renovate and rebrand the location, but we all realize that spring is here! Business will be as usual for now. Our focus is on our customers and serving them as they’ve always expected.

We will continue to represent the brands that Riverside Mowers has sold. They do a great business with Toro, STIHL, Dixie Chopper and Honda as well as others, however… you may begin to see a few of our the other brands that our other locations sell. More on that soon.

Again, we’re excited. Business at our 4 Metro Atlanta locations (Alpharetta, Doraville, Duluth and Oakwood) has been great over the past few years. This growth into Athens is something that we’ve discussed for many years, but only recently were all the details revealed.

If you have any questions during the transition, be sure to ask.




The Black Friday / Small Business Saturday Sales Event at Howard Brothers

Black Friday sales used to be a secret. Before the Internet and social media, it used to be fun to get the newspaper on Thanksgiving morning and look through them all. That was part of the fun of getting up on Friday morning and fighting the crowds. I think it was more exciting and more of an experience.

Then everyone started leaking their ads early (some retailers do this even months ahead of time) and now opening time has become a strategy for sale day. Some retailers are opening on Thursday (we will never do that.) and some retailers are even beginning to close on Friday to set them apart from other retailers.

Well. I guess I should go ahead and “Leak” what we’ll have on sale next week.

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Add Some Spontaneity to Your Weekend’s Todo List

Wow, we may actually be able to have a sun filled weekend, which means a lot of projects will be outdoors this weekend in Atlanta and North Georgia. Are your leaves piling up like mine?

Here’s a nice reminder from True Value, to add a little spontaneity to your project.

We’re here to offer you expert advice, and make sure you use the right tools for the job. Make sure that your projects involve your family. You can make any project more fun and enjoyable if you do.

What projects do you have this weekend? How can we help?

Spontaneity True Value

Howard Brothers Featured on Lost and Found on Discovery Family Channel

I guess we can now admit/mention the fact that we’re going to be on a reality TV show.

Over the years, we’ve often laughed about the fact that if cameras were in place, one of the greatest reality TV shows could be edited from our day to day business. We would have a fantastic cast of characters from employees to customers, and when you throw some of our vendors in, it would be a sure fire success. The challenges and solutions offered at Howard Brothers multiple locations is captivating.

But, until that day when some production company finds out about us, we’ll just piggy back on already existing reality TV.

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Best of Gwinnett – 2015 – Hardware Store

BOG_Vote2015_300x250We’re excited/honored to announce that we’ve been nominated in the Best of Gwinnett awards for Best Hardware store. We hope that our fans will go to the bestofgwinnett website before November 16th and cast a vote.

It’s a little difficult to find our category, so just like the assistance you’d receive in our stores, I’ll be happy to take you right to the correct category.

First of all, you can go right to the home and garden category on BestofGwinnett.com

Scroll down to Best Hardware Store

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 11.25.52 PM

We’re up against some great stores who serve their communities just as much as we do. But we are the only True Value Hardware in the List!



Honda Holiday Sales Event – Discounted Super Quiet Honda Generators

Honda Super Quiet Generators On Sale

It’s that time of year again and if you’ve been paying attention to Honda Generator’s sales events over the past few years… you know that November and December are the best time of the year to get a deal on a super quiet Honda Generator.

From now until December 31st, you can score big savings on the best generators available. From now until December 31st, you can get up to $200 off a Honda EU Series Generator. They are super quiet. Reliable Power for work, home and play.

You may have heard the radio spots that have been blanketing Atlanta and North Georgia from Chuck Oliver and Joel Williams talking about the deal. Some of us are visual learners… check out the ad below.

2015 Honda-Generator-Sale-Atlanta-North-Georgia

But Why Should I get my Honda Generator at Howard Brothers?

Yeah, you can go to any Honda Dealer in Atlanta or North Georgia, but at Howard Brothers we also have financing available that allows you to use the True Value Credit Card. That means that if you can purchase the generator after November 27th, you’ll get no interest till January 2017!


True Value Credit Card 2017

Which means you can enjoy your clean, efficient, quiet power now and not have to pay anything until January 2017! Plus you get a ton of other benefits when you sign up for the True Value credit card!

Now’s the time to come in one of our stores and get one of these very reliable generators which will last you many years if properly maintained. You’ll never be left in the dark again when storms come or when you’re ready to get a charge at the camp site or tailgate.

Where can I buy a Honda Super Quiet Generator in the Atlanta area?

We’ve got stores in Alpharetta, Doraville, Duluth, or Oakwood. Give us a call or email us if you are interested.

  • Howard Brothers Alpharetta – 770-754-4114
  • Howard Brothers Doraville – 770-449-6500
  • Howard Brothers Duluth – 770-476-3006
  • Howard Brothers Oakwood – 678-450-0500

Back to the Future Day – 2015 – This is Heavy

I woke up today on October 21st, 2015 thinking about the future. Or the past. Or the present… I’m so confused.



By the way… check out the Pepsi Sign! Marty McFly drank Pepsi in 1955

We probably all know that today is the day that Marty McFly arrived in the future from 1985. In the first movie he drove his DeLorean 88 miles per hour to the year 1955. It struck me the other night as we were watching the movie with my children, that 1955 was the year that Howard Brothers opened its doors.

Back in 1955, Ed Howard took over a gas station and general store from his soon to be father-in-law. I can only imagine that the city of Norcross was similar in parts to What Hill Valley looked like. While I don’t think Norcross had a “town green” with the iconic clock tower, it had to be a neat area that centered around the railroad tracks and the train depot. Downtown Norcross was a hub of many small businesses similar to those seen in the movie. The gas station and general store that Ed Howard owned was a stop “on the way” towards Atlanta. I’ve heard many conversations from folks who would stop there on their way to working at the old General Motors plant in Doraville. They’d stop on the way south, and back on their way north. Some of the first neighborhoods in Gwinnett county were established around that Doraville location which saw the need for the store to transform to include more groceries and meat.

In 1972, Ed decided to get into the hardware business more and joined national True Value Hardware. He opened up a store next to the grocery that was small but had your basics. I wonder if he had any idea at the time of what his business would look like years later.


Roads? Where we went in 1985... it was almost just roads.
Roads? Where we went in 1985… it was almost just roads.

Fast forward to 1985 (Marty’s present day), when Ed’s sons, John and Doug Howard, are more involved in the business. They began looking north on Buford Highway to the city of Duluth as a potential location for a second store. They saw growth that was happening and were able to look into the future and see the need for another Hardware store similar to the one in Doraville. In 1987, Howard Brothers opened its second store about 7 miles from its original. At this time, Doug was already seeing the future of power equipment and made strategic decisions which would make Howard Brothers the area expert for small engines, mowers, and other types of power equipment.


But where are the hoverboards, flying cars, and other technology which Marty McFly encountered in the year 2015?

Let’s face it, Howard Brothers isn’t in the drone and cold fusion business. In the hardware stores, we still sell bolts and nuts, window glass, and hammers. Over in the equipment business, we still repair engines because of gasoline failures and people still use string trimmers to clean up in their yards. From the outside looking in, not a whole lot has changed in 30-50 years. Or has it?

  1. stihl-cordless-kombisystem-gear-patrol-leadLook at power. It used to be that everything with a large engine had to be powered by gasoline and oil, but we continue to see commercial landscapers move to propane powered equipment. More and more homeowners (even some commercial landscapers) are going to battery powered equipment. This saves fuel costs and helps protect the environment. In Back to the Future 2, we see signs of a world which had its pollution problems, but was also trying to create ways to clean up the streets.
  2. Look at lighting. Lighting has changed so much in the past 5 years. Everyday, it seems like the latest/greatest bulb is produced which will both save energy and cost less to operate. We’ve seen incandescents almost totally eliminated by compact fluorescents and LEDs.
  3. Smart products are everywhere. I really can’t believe that someone hasn’t invented a wifi enabled hammer (I actually had to google that to make sure someone hasn’t.) Seriously, we have cordless drills which you can connect to the internet through wifi so that manufacturers can observe how they’re being used… How crazy is that!? Some Milwaukee Power Tools are able to be upgraded so that they run more efficiently and have fewer problems. Lawn mowers are becoming the same way. It is a normal day at Howard Brothers when I see one of our technicians plug a laptop into an engine on a mower (just like they do at auto dealers) to diagnose what is going on in the engine! That’s cool!
  4. Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 9.04.55 AMNylon grade. Bear with me on this, but this is really cool too. When I first started working in the hardware store, I was introduced to the many types of fasteners. I had to learn the difference between grade 2, grade 5, grade 8, stainless steel, and all the other types of materials which formed the over 5000 types of fasteners that we carry. You’ve probably heard of 3D printing and how one day, you’ll be able to print your own toilet flapper when your old one goes bad… but I get a little excited when I think of fasteners which will probably one day be nylon but have the same strength as a grade 8 bolt. We already see trends heading more towards this. It is going to happen…
  5. Chemicals. Here’s one that has a lot of unknowns, but also one that we all know is going to greatly change in the next few years. With folks becoming more environmentally friendly, they are more and more concerned with the chemicals we use on our lawn, food, and around the home. History has shown misuse and poor use of caustic chemicals which are more harmful than we thought. In some ways, the future is looking more like the past where we used natural/safer alternatives to pesticides and toxins. Since many of these products are staple items for hardware stores across this country…this will be an interesting discussion to listen in on over the next few years. It will likely transform the hardware store in ways we haven’t seen before.
  6. Wearables/portable tech – Who doesn’t have a smart phone? We’ve been seeing some amazing new products that are going to make you say, “Great Scott.” Recently at the True Value Fall Market in Chicago, we were stunned by a little camera by seek thermal. It is a thermal imaging camera that attaches to your smart phone and allows you to see heat variations. Home inspectors, electricians, plumbers and maintenance guys will love this thing… Coming soon to our stores, but think about how much our devices allow a world of new tech to become more cost effective and possible. Our smart phones are more part of our toolbox than anything.

I guess after today, all of the events of the Back to the Future movies will be in the past. As we look to the future of Metro Atlanta and North Georgia, I wonder what we’ll experience. How do you think our our lives be changed by the technology and innovation of today and tomorrow?

Want to learn more about Howard Brother’s History, check out this video from John and Doug Howard.