In 1951, Payne Sneed and Parham Shaw became partners when they bought a hardware store on the Oxford Square. Over sixty years later, the store has grown, changed locations, become part of the Ace Hardware brand, and yet, amidst all this change, the reigns of the store have stayed in the hands of the children and grandchildren of the original Sneed and Shaw hardware owners.
When the store first opened in 1951, it was located in the building currently occupied by Rooster’s Blues House. The business was named Shaw and Sneed’s Hardware. Over the next 20 years, the partners would join the Ace Hardware brand, the store would move to University Avenue, and Parham Shaw would leave the business due to health issues. After these changes, the name of the store became Sneed’s Ace Hardware, the same name it bears to this day.
In the 1970s, Payne Sneed’s son Harry Sneed joined the business and eventually took over ownership. At the same time, Parham Shaw’s grandson, David Shaw, had taken an interest in the store even though his grandfather had passed away ten years before and the family did not own part of the store anymore.
Over the next 40 years, Payne Sneed continued to work every day at the store until he passed away at 92 years old. During this time, he worked with his son, Harry, and his old partner’s grandson, David Shaw. After Payne Sneed’s passing in 2005, Harry and David ran the business together just as their grandfather and father had before them.
Harry and David helped brand Sneed’s Ace Hardware as the go-to place for any hardware needs in Oxford. The name is so well known in town that the full name of the store, Sneed’s Ace Hardware, has been shortened to simply “Sneed’s” by many of the locals. It is a common occurrence to have newcomers to Oxford ask for advice on home improvement project items and be met with the response, “Go to Sneed’s.”
David continues to carry on the Shaw and Sneed legacy and works diligently to make certain that the store continues to offer the items that Oxford locals need and want.
“We try to stay very broad in our inventory,” David said. “Our clerks have a fair amount of knowledge, and we’re appropriately priced. We feel like we can help the community because we can react fast to a need. If someone needs something in stock, I can get it for them.”
Just a few months ago, in January 2017, Sneed experienced even more change. David and his wife, Susan, took over full ownership of Sneed’s hardware when Harry decided to retire. Many are still unaware of the change in ownership because the business has continued to run smoothly.
The entire Shaw and Sneed families have shown a real devotion to Oxford and the people who live here, and though ownership of the store has changed hands once again, it is safe to say that Sneed’s Ace Hardware is a true family business whose roots run deep in the Oxford community.
Amy Goodin is a writer for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at argoodin12