Need something fixed? Harmons
has been doing it for 70 years
By Linda Petersen
Feb. 15, 2018
Have you ever wandered around one of those “big box” hardware stores hopelessly looking for something or even for someone to help you, but neither is anywhere to be found? It’s a frustrating experience but one you don’t have to deal with if you live anywhere near Manti. That’s because at Harmon’s Hardware you’ll find friendly, hometown service at competitive prices from Joel and Kari Harmon and their assistant, Joy Pipes.
Joel’s father, John Leonard Harmon (known locally as Leonard Harmon), and his grandfather, Milton Spillsbury Harmon, originally started the business back in 1946. Back then, Milton Harmon had a horse and wagon that he would use to transport passengers arriving at the Manti depot to locations around town for just 25 cents. Another wagon provided garbage service and was used to deliver large items like pianos when people moved. A third wagon delivered coal to people in town.
Leonard Harmon sold and repaired appliances and offered plumbing and electrical services out of his business on Union Street. Joel says after World War II the two “put their heads together” and decided to go into business together. They built what is now the front half of their current building with a scales house in front where they continued to sell coal while Leonard sold and serviced appliances.
Along with the store, they had a coal yard on 600 West where the railroad built a spur so loads of coal could be brought there to be shoveled into wagons and delivered around town. Things went so well that a couple of years later they added on to the store, doubling its size and added hardware into the mix.
In 1965, the Harmons added work and western wear to their product line after the owner of a dry goods store store on Main Street, Carpenters, wanted to retire and asked Joel’s dad to take over his accounts. So they added cowboy boots, work boots and western shirts and decided to get out of the appliance business. They finally discontinued selling coal when natural gas came to Sanpete County.
“We were very busy pulling out coal and oil furnaces and putting in natural gas furnaces,” Joel recalls.
Joel grew up helping out at the store. In fact, he vividly remembers his first sale of a pair of needle-nosed pliers to Morgan Dyreng—at the ripe old age of 6. Joel would often help out in the store after school and on weekends. On Wednesday nights, Milton Harmon would work at the temple and Joel would be put in charge. Milton passed away when Joel was in the ninth grade; something that he says was “very hard.”
After high school, Joel worked in the store and attended Snow College full time for a year where he studied math and engineering. He continued to work at the store until his bishop asked him to serve a mission in the Eastern United States Mission.
Upon his return, Joel again joined the family business fulltime. Over the years, he worked alongside his father, Leonard, (who passed away in 2001), learning electrical, heating and plumbing skills and served five-year apprenticeships under him in each field.
Eventually, he took over that side of the business and these days is so busy he leaves most of the day-to-day operation of the store to Kari and Joy.
Along with all the hardware-related items you’d expect to find, Harmon’s carries many items that might surprise you, including furnaces, water heaters, water hydrants and even Moen faucets. That’s in addition to PVC fittings, materials for sprinklers and farm water lines, gardening tools and “anything electrical,” Kari says.
On the clothing side of things, they offer western wear such as Levi and Wrangler jeans and Red Wing work boots. They have a full selection of Case pocket and hunting knives and kitchen cutlery block sets. The biggest surprise may be that they carry everything you need to set up a Disc Golf course and some beautiful puzzles.
Throughout the years, the Harmons have never forgotten who they are or where they come from. With a history rooted deep in the fabric of Sanpete County, they are committed to providing their neighbors with convenient, hometown service and prices that are comparable to those big box stores.
“We’re just like the old-time grandpa and grandma shops,” Joel says. “There’s fewer and fewer across the country, but we’re still going.”
Harmon’s Hardware is located at 98 West 200 North in Manti. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday during the winter (8 a.m. to 6 p.m. after daylight savings time), 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday. Call 835-4351.