Coast to Coast becomes Carmichaels True Value

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SNOQUALMIE — Coast to Coast in Snoqualmie is changing its

name to Carmichaels True Value Hardware.

But your friendly neighborhood hardware store, by any other name,

is still your friendly neighborhood hardware store, and the smiles of

the people behind the counter are just as bright.

Coast to Coast merged with True Value about two years ago and

the Coast to Coast name no longer exists, according to owner Dick

Carmichael. The businesses merged in order to be more cost efficient and to have

more buying power.

Dick and wife Betty Carmichael want everyone to know that the

name is the only thing that's changing, and the rumors that they have sold the

store are untrue.

"What I'd like to get across to our customers is that we really

appreciate them and they will still get taken care of," Betty Carmichael said. "The

really positive thing about the merger is that many prices are going down."

The new Carmichaels True Value Hardware sign will be installed

soon, reflecting the family name that's well known around the Valley.

The couple has been in the hardware business for 27 years. After

they were married in Seattle in 1968, they decided to start their own business,

but weren't sure what type of business would be best. One day, they were

visiting Dick Carmichael's hometown of Snoqualmie and noticed the Coast

to Coast hardware business for sale. They bought the business, which was

originally in a leased storefront where the Snoqualmie Falls Candy Factory

is today.

Then they began to learn about running the store.

"We did not know anything about the hardware business when

we started, and the customers have really helped us learn the business,"

Betty Carmichael said, explaining how patrons have helped answer each

other's and the staff's questions throughout the years.

In the fall of 1983, the Carmichaels bought the old Red and White

dime store building on Falls Avenue and have been there ever since.

In the past, the building housed a number of general merchandise

stores. It was originally built in 1902 but burned down six years later from a

fire that started in the hotel next door.

By 1909, it had been rebuilt and looks much the same as today, with

a bit of remodeling. Many of the Carmichaels' friends volunteered,

including Snoqualmie humanitarian Bud King, the couple's

brother-in-law Joe Zwiefelhofer and many firefighters, to help remodel the

old store.

"It needed a lot of work — new floors and a counter,"

Betty Carmichael said. "There were so many people who helped and I just

can't believe the things they did. I am so thankful to them because they

worked for free after already working a full day at their regular jobs."

The volunteer efforts in the 1980s worked and sales have been

increasing over the years.

The Carmichaels currently have nine employees, including

their daughter Teri Young, who does accounting; granddaughter Kendra,16,

a cashier; and Dick Carmichael's sister Vicki Zwiefelhofer, who is the

store manager.

Over the years the Carmichaels' store seems to have developed a

reputation for their friendly, small-town service.

"What we really `sell' here is great service and attention to the

customer. That's what makes the difference," Dick Carmichael said.

The store has seen Snoqualmie through good and bad times.

Many people came looking for parts and materials to rebuild after

the 1990 flood and were able to find what they needed from the

Carmichaels' store.

"It's nice to be here during these disasters. We stay open for people

because they need things," said employee Eileen Lee, who has

worked for the Carmichaels for more than 10 years.

The employees also have a policy of keeping the store open

during power outages.

The hardware store's customers are known for sharing pictures of

their remodel projects and personal snapshots of births, weddings and

other special occasions. Missy Conklin has worked there for two years and

said she loves the friendly atmosphere the customers create.

"We can greet people by their first names most of the time," she said.

"It's like a big happy family around here."

Carmichaels True Value Hardware features eight departments,

including hardware, plumbing, electrical, paint, lawn and garden, housewares,

automotive and building supplies. Betty Carmichael said they also have

some unexpected finds, such as unique birdhouses.

"Dick has almost everything in the world here," said lifetime

Snoqualmie resident Tom McCuen, who has been a customer for years.

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