Hamilton is proud to support many varied and successful businesses.
There are hundreds of businesses located in the city limits of Hamilton. There are many that have stood the test of time, some for over 100 years! A few of the oldest that come to mind are Hamilton Caster, Butler County Lumber, Al-Joe's Pet & Garden Center, Wilks Insurance, Richards Pizza, Jolly’s, Community First Solutions, Holiday Auto Theatre, Matandy, Flub’s, Hyde’s Restaurant, Triangle Sign Company, Kaivac, Vision Source, Max Stacy Flowers, Rose Automotive, Neal’s BBQ, YWCA and Bethart Printing.
10 years as a business is also a worthy accomplishment! True West Coffee, Community Design Alliance, The Main Look, Lambikin's Hideaway, Inside Out Studio, Miami Valley Ballet Theatre, Made to Love, Two Little Buds and Sara’s House have hit this milestone. It’s encouraging that our town has so much legacy in it through local businesses, and this list is only a glimpse of it!
We were able to chat with a few of these businesses to hear more about the success of their business over the years:
Richards Pizza - founded in 1955, located at 417 Main Street and 3015 Dixie Hwy
Hamilton Caster - founded in 1907, located at 1637 Dixie Highway
Lambikin’s Hideaway - founded in 2007, located at 217 S B Street
Two Little Buds - founded in 2007, located at 17 North D Street
True West Coffee - founded in 2011, located at 313 Main Street
Karen Underwood Kramer, owner of Richards Pizza, and Steve Schott, Director of Operations: That's easy! Hamiltonians support the local businesses and embrace "shop local". For 68 years we have been proud to be a part of Hamilton's business community and get to know our customers!
Dave Lippert, President at Hamilton Caster: “Started as a family business, 4 generations now. My great grandfather lived here in Hamilton. First location was on Hanover St, then we've been here at Dixie Highway since 1920.”
Nora Mollmann, owner of Lambikin’s Hideaway: “I took over the existing business in Hamilton about 3 years in. It’s been mine for 12 years now.”
Mindy Staton, owner of Two Little Buds: “I adore Main St. and the people of Hamilton!”
Ness Cannon, owner of True West Coffee: “We chose Hamilton because we love the city, we see the potential of Hamilton. Many of the people who live here have lived here for generations, and we knew that they would support local businesses. And they truly have.”
What’s your secret to staying in business so long?
Karen and Steve: Our family recipes were developed using the highest quality ingredients along with the best procedures to make the recipes. We never looked for cheaper ingredients or shortcuts in our procedures. We realized we would have to have the best team in the industry to execute our procedures. We work very hard to make sure our teams receive the treatment and respect they deserve. Our goal is to be the best place to work in the industry. The current environment is very hard on the industry and we stay committed to having the best ingredients and the best team members.
Dave, Hamilton Caster: “I would say 4 things and in order of importance are 1) The right people all along the way, 2) Our product - so many older companies have gone obsolete, maybe it’s a stroke of luck, but casters and wheels are still being used today. 3) Skill - our family keeps running the business with leadership and training 4) Luck - we learn to hand stuff off well and create our own luck in the next generation.”
Nora, Lambikin’s Hideaway: “Top merchandise and quality service. We're willing to help anyone with a knitting or crocheting problem.”
Mindy, Two Little Buds: “Treating customers like family and loving what I do.”
Ness, True West Coffee: “The fact that the city cares so much about shopping local is the only way we have stayed in business. They care about the families that live here, and they choose to shop at places who have invested in the city like they have.”
What advice would you give to a business just starting out?
Karen and Steve: You only get to make ONE first impression. Open soft and make sure every customer leaves your business doing cartwheels because they are so happy. Stay away from cheap rent, cheap ingredients, and cheap team members as these three things will put you out of business the fastest.
Dave, Hamilton Caster: “Devotion to the business and lots of hard work. I recommend any type of business, at any age, should get an advisory board of 3 maybe 4 people. Finding the right people to help your company with their expertise to help out a new business starting out. And utilize the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce to network in our community.”
Mindy, Two Little Buds: “It's very important to pivot when you have failures, and be very open to change the way you operate when you need to. Staying fluid helps with the anxiety of trying to do it all.”
Ness, True West Coffee: “I would say that you really need to care more about serving the city than making money when you are starting out. We didn’t go into creating a small business to get rich, we went into it to give the city something they needed. And I think the people who live here responded to that.”
What’s next for your business?
Karen and Steve: A continued intense focus on high quality products served by caring, engaged team members in a clean, inviting environment. Expansion of our Main Street location is in the works!
Dave, Hamilton Caster: “A transition of leadership to the next generation. My brother and I are retiring and currently working on the succession plan for the next group. 13 out of our 102 employees are over 65. 15 of our 102 employees have only been here for one year or less. We’re now developing a training program to help lead and take more responsibility. “
Nora, Lambikin’s Hideaway: “We are restarting classes! Beginner classes for knitting and crochet, also project classes to make hats, scarves, etc.”
Mindy, Two Little Buds: “Expansion! The Farmer's Collective will be our next big adventure, it will be a cafe and market featuring local producers.”
Ness, True West Coffee: “We would like to offer more baked goods and desserts, so we are thinking about expanding our dessert offerings. We already make everything from scratch in the house, those cookies are just an example of our potential! We are also catering a lot of events through our new True West on wheels trailer! So, we are booking those events actively right now! Birthday parties, weddings, showers and big block parties are all great options for True West!”
This story is a part of a collaboration between the Hamiltonian and City of Hamilton for their 2023 annual report. You can view the whole issue of this report here: