A.D. Naylor & Co. ‘Still Going Strong’ After 133 Years

Last Updated on Dec 8, 2017 at 9:13am | Garrett County Economic Development

Article courtesy of NCWV Media - The Republican. Staff Wroter: Renee Shreve. Submitted photo.
A.D. Naylor & Co. is still going strong and will continue serving its local communities for many years to come, according to the company’s new president, Joe Delosier.
“We’re not going out of business,” he said about rumors to the contrary. “And the company has not been sold.”
To make sure the 133-year-old, family-owned business stays relevant and competitive in the 21st century, however, improvements were needed. These include creating a new business plan; participating in Ace Hardware’s online sales, with purchases available for pick-up at Naylor’s Hardware stores; and establishing a social media presence.
“Things are going well,” Delosier said.
He was promoted from vice president to president in September. Former president Janna Naylor is currently vice president and now works part time — one or two days a week. She is enjoying her new-found freedom.
“I want to start reading things other than trade journals,” Naylor said.
She and her partner, Shirley Knowles, also plan to spend more time snowmobiling. Their favorite trails are located in Maine, New York and Michigan. The walls of Janna’s office are adorned with photos of her adventures in the great outdoors: Hiking, skiing, riding recumbent bicycles, running marathons, rock climbing and kayaking.
Even though Naylor may eventually retire, Delosier’s not going to let her leave the office completely.
“I will always consult her, whether she’s fully retired or not,” he said.
Naylor became president in 1998. She has a degree in research chemistry, and prior to returning home and joining the family business, she worked in medical research for the Veterans Administration in Denver and San Diego.
Milton Naylor, one of her brothers, still works part-time for the company in purchasing. Their father, Arthur E. Naylor Jr., served as president for numerous years until his retirement in 1988. He was a grandchild of company founder Alonzo Drake Naylor, who was known in the community as Mr. A.D.
A.D. Naylor was born in Hedgesville, W.Va., in 1861, and left home at the age of 21 to take a blacksmith job in Keyser, W.Va. Two years later, he had gained enough experience and confidence that he decided to open his own shop in Oakland, which at the time was a booming summer resort town, thanks to the B&O Railroad. He soon branched out into selling buggies, wagons, and pumps, and later hardware, plumbing, heating, tools, German siding, tinware, and numerous other lines. When Mr. A.D. died in 1964, his business was 80 years old, and he was 103.
Naylor’s now has three hardware stores, located in Oakland, Cumberland and Elkins, W.Va. The company also has contracting, water softening, and business-to-business divisions.
Delosier joined the Naylor “family” in January 2009 when he became manager of the Cumberland store.
“I almost didn’t hire him,” Naylor said.
She had received 110 applications for the Cumberland position, and initially tossed Delosier’s application aside, along with about 70 others.
“He was overqualified,” Naylor said. “He was more qualified than I was.”
She later retrieved Delosier’s application from the slush pile, interviewed him, liked what she heard, and hired him to manage the Cumberland store. He was promoted to general manager in 2012 and became vice president of the company in 2014.
Delosier holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Susquehanna University. He came to Naylor’s from the Hagerstown Prime Outlets, where he was the operations manager for 10 years. His duties included assisting other outlets up and down the East Coast.
When Premium Outlets purchased Prime Outlets, Delosier decided to accept a buyout offer and look for employment elsewhere, including the Cumberland area, where his fiancée lived. They still live in the “Queen City.”
One of the highlights of his career was helping other Prime staff members introduce the Black Friday “midnight madness” concept, which was an entirely new idea at the time, to the Hagerstown region. Delosier also held midnight madness sales when he became manager of Naylor’s Hardware in Cumberland. Customers were invited to attend the first event in their night clothes.
“I had on red fleece pajamas,” Naylor said.
The sales event was highly successful, and the idea soon caught on at other Cumberland area stores, including Walmart. In fact, the Country Club Mall consulted Delosier on how to conduct its first Midnight Madness Sale.
In addition to Delosier, other familiar faces at Naylor’s Oakland store include Jay Kestner, company secretary/treasurer; Donna Broadwater, business-to-business sales; and Matt Coleman, store manager. Delosier noted that Coleman worked at Naylor’s during high school and college. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Frostburg State University, Coleman left Naylor’s — but returned a year later.
Delosier said he met Naylor’s father just one time, shortly before his death in 2013, but that brief encounter was poignant.
“I promised him I’d keep the family company going for as long I could into the foreseeable future,” Delosier said.
In her 1984 publication, The Family Hardware Store: Mirror of a Community, the late Mary I. Love writes, “The fourth generation of Naylor’s is proud of the store and its place in the community, and has a sense of responsibility to continue the tradition of service and mutual respect, to see what make people’s lives more comfortable, and to make those things available. In short, if there were a crystal ball telling Naylor’s future, it would likely be a series of mirrors, each modifying slightly what has gone before.”