by Susan Marquez
Since January 1, 1950, Revell Hardware has been serving folks in the Metro Jackson area. It began when Joe Revell, a sales manager at Shapleigh Hardware in Jackson, decided he wanted to open his own hardware store. Revell was 40 years old, and had just married for the first time. He asked a much younger - and more energetic - co-worker at Shapleigh’s, Jack Rooks, to join him in the new venture.
Revell and Rooks opened their new store, Revell Hardware, in the Cook Center on Terry Road in South Jackson. The business took off, but no one could have dreamed that it would still be around, 70 years later, with seven locations scattered around the Metro Jackson area. “Revell has become a strong name in hardware,” says Dunaway Rooks, who is one of several of Jack Rooks’ sons involved with the business.
In 1957, Ray Campbell invested $10,000 for a one-third ownership of the business. “That was a heck of a lot of money in those days,” says Dunaway. “Mr. Campbell has been a long-time associate, and a real force in the hardware industry.” By 1974, Joe Revell was ready to retire and Joe Rooks purchased his part of the business.
Dunaway says he grew up in the business, going to work for his dad when he was 14 years old. “My younger brother, Russell, also worked for Dad at an early age.” In 1977, the business moved to a new building on Terry Road, then as growth moved to Rankin County, the business expanded to Pearl. “The Pearl location has always been very successful,” says Dunaway. “We are still there, across the street from the original store. We built a huge client base in Pearl. We were in a 4,000 square foot building and we ended up renting an additional 4,000 square feet in the same shopping center before moving into our present location in 1994. We had so much inventory in the old building that it would barely fit in the new one.”
Even with a couple of big box competitors, the folks at Revell Hardware persevered and made it work. In 1997, Joe Rooks procured an existing hardware store in Clinton, and in 2009, moved that store into a new location. The company expanded into Byram in 1998 with the purchase of another existing business. “That was the first store to get into the rental business with heavy duty power equipment,” Dunaway says.
Revell opened its second Rankin County location in 2001 when they opened a store in Richland, followed by another Rankin County location in Florence. “The fourth Rankin County location is the reservoir store, which opened in 2015. “There is something about Rankin County folks, they really want to buy local from people who are local.”
Being a strong supporter of the community is one reason customers remain loyal to Revell Hardware. The company is a member of all the area Chambers of Commerce, and they regularly sponsor youth sports. “We feel it’s important to give back to the communities who have been so supportive of us,” Dunaway states. “My brothers and I don’t take credit for our success. We owe it all to our customers and our great employees.”
Dunaway’s brother, Joe, acts as the company’s CEO, handling accounts, insurance, and overseeing the outdoor equipment division, Revell Rental. His brother Tim runs the industrial division, Revell Supply Group, which is located behind the Pearl store.
The seventh store in the Revell chain of hardware stores is in Deville Plaza in Jackson. Dunaway’s nephew, Paxton Rooks, along with Dunaway’s sister-in-law, Lisa Rooks, run the store.
Guy Eaton, a Pearl native, serves as Revell’s general manager. Dunaway’s two sons, J and Robert, have joined the business, working with Dunaway in the Pearl location. “It has always been our hope to carry this business into a third generation, and it is happening.”
Being astute in the industry, knowing how to do business, and learning and building on what has been done in the past has been the key to Revell’s success. “We haven’t made many changes in the way we do business,” says Dunaway. “Of course, we’ve kept up with technology, but we also focus on keeping a good, balanced inventory with enough product on hand to meet customers’ needs, we are open to new products, and we keep our focus on the customers. We are a true customer service business, not a shop-for-yourself arena. By the grace of God, we have come a long way, and we are blessed with the best employees and customers around!”