Looking back at 2023: Jackson celebrates 40 years, opens new Ashley Furniture location in Red Oak

Red Oak Hardware Hank and Hallmark Cold Crown Store general manager Mark Jackson celebrated 40 years of operation this year.
Jackson said they didn’t get a chance to move to the current location at 315 E. Reed St. until 1998, when Randy and Angie Spangenburg decided they were going to get out of the clothing business and take on a new career.
“They were going to close their clothing business, and initially they tried to find someone to buy the business but were unable. After they ran a going-out-of-business sale. Randy and my wife Ann talked They talked me into the fact the location would work as a hardware store. I was convinced it wouldn’t, but they talked me into it. It’s one of the best things they ever talked me into. We operated in the prior location until April 1999, then we moved over here and reopened.”
Five years later, a restaurant next door closed, so Jackson purchased that building and expanded the location further. Five years after that, Amy Johnson’s Hair Clinic, which was the building farther to the west also closed, so that building was purchased as well, and the expansions continued.
The store was True Value when Jackson took it over and stayed as  True Value for another 20 years after he took over. Jackson said they stayed with True Value for about five years after they opened a second location near Hy-Vee, but eventually Jackson felt it was time for a change.
“We looked around at a lot of different outfits, like Ace Hardware. The best fit for us in the Midwest seemed to be Hardware Hank. Their corporate name, United Hardware, supplies all the Hardware Hank stores. We signed the contract with Hardware Hank in November 2004, and the change officially took place at the end of January 2005. That’s been one of the best things we’ve ever done. Over the past 18 years, we’ve expanded seven times, so it’s been very good for us, and United Hardware and Hardware Hank have been very supportive of everything we’re trying to do, and they’ve been very good to us,” advised Jackson.
Later on that year, Jackson opened Mark Jackson’s Ashley Furniture in the former Brown’s Shoe Fit building at 318 E. Coolbaugh St.
Jackson said they spent many years attempting to bring another shoe store or clothing retailer into the building, to no avail.
“We spent about four years seeking out a clothing or shoe retailer. Montgomery County Development Corporation (MCDC) hired Retail Strategies, and they were unsuccessful bringing anyone to this location as well. We were already selling Ashley Furniture through Hardware Hank through a small display with a kiosk, and we outgrew it pretty quickly. So last fall, in October, Ann suggested that if we didn’t get any retailers in by January of this year, we should remodel the Brown’s building and make it an Ashley Furniture Store. She really felt it would work,” commented Jackson.
Jackson also welcomed the opportunity to bring something new and useful to the Red Oak downtown.
“This was something that there was a specific need for in our community because of the loss, over the last 10 years, of two other furniture stores here in Red Oak. It’s great to be able to offer these products, and offer the service we like to do in the hardware store in our Ashley Furniture store. People don’t have to leave Red Oak and Southwest Iowa to see something that looks really nice the way they’d ordinarily have to go to the big city to see. There are no big city salespeople here trying to get you to buy something you don’t want, either. We can fit into your home the perfect selections you’re looking for within your budget.”
The idea to expand to the new location, Jackson said, was also well received after sharing the idea during a meeting with corporate representatives from Hardware Hank.  This has allowed Jackson to do some remodeling at the hardware store.
“After we got the furniture moved out, we moved the office supply department from the second to the first floor. People have loved that. That also allowed us to move the sporting goods department from the third to the second floor. All of those things have worked really well, and the feedback has been great. All the staff at the hardware store were excited as well,” said Jackson.
Jackson said the store has been well-received by people in and outside of Southwest Iowa.
“The turn around on our items has been great. We haven’t been open that long, but I want to express my appreciation to everyone that has supported us so well, not only for this short time, but over the years. We appreciate that, and I appreciate being in Southwest Iowa and Red Oak. The people understand that we’re trying to offer things that people want and need.”

The Red Oak Express

2012 Commerce Drive
P.O. Box 377
Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-623-2566 Fax: 712-623-2568

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