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Wangler Timeline and History

Wangler History

Wangler Hardware has been a part of the community of Fort Recovery since 1916. For the first 64 years in business, only Wangler family members worked in the store. It is currently a 5th generation family business, still committed to serving customers in this area. We look forward to serving you!



Fort Recovery’s hardware store, owned by Joseph Meinerding, is destroyed when a gun was test-fired, hitting 200 pounds of dynamite. Five deaths result from the explosion, surrounding properties are destroyed and most windows throughout the entire town are shattered.


Erhard Wangler moves his hardware business from New Riegel, OH to Fort Recovery, establishing E. Wangler Hardware on April 1, 1916. Erhard operates the store with the help of three of his children, Cletus, Ursela, and Winifred.


Cletus takes over management and goes on to operate Wangler Hardware with three of his children as employees.  Another hardware store, called Fort Recovery Hardware, is located two doors down from Wangler Hardware. This store is owned and operated by Cletus Wangler’s father-in-law, Henry Kleinhenz.


Cletus retires and passes ownership to his son, Bill, who continues to operate the store with his children and sister Eileen.


Bill's daughter Patricia Jo (PJ) and her husband Mike Minor take ownership, making it a fourth-generation business.


The opportunity to 'buy out the competition' presented itself, and Mike and PJ take ownership of both hardware stores in town. The two stores were owned by both of PJ’s paternal great grandfathers.


Steve Schmitz, who had been an employee since 1987 became a partner in the business. He marks the first owner who was not in the Wangler family, but is heartily welcomed as ‘family’.


After operating from two separate locations for several years, the decision is made to build a brand new, 10,000 square foot facility on the south edge of town. The doors to the new Wangler ACE Hardware are opened on April 1, 2001—86 years to the day of original establishment.


After spending eleven years in the lift truck industry, Matt Minor and his wife, Erin, moved back to Fort Recovery from New Orleans to continue as the 5th generation of Wangler Hardware owners. They had a son in 2016, so perhaps the tradition will continue!


Celebrated 100 years of family business!


Kleinhenz and Gardner

Wangler Wagon

Historic Ft. Recovery

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1711 State Route 49 | Fort Recovery, OH 45846 | Phone: 419.375.1084 | Fax: 419.375.2644

Ft. Recovery Circular