By Garrett Estrada
Ely Times Staff Writer
There is a little bit of everything inside V&S Variety True Value. The store’s owners Ray and Diane Hansen stock the store with a rotating supply of everything from clothes, home supplies and gardening tools to pet food, crafts and paints.
“We’re kind of like an old-fashions mercantile,” Diane Hansen said.
“The store is never the same,” Ray Hansen added.
It has been 20 years since the married couple started the business next door to their current building. They had originally transferred to Ely from California to work for the then current owner of the business, SPROUSE! in 1993. When that business went under, the Hansen’s decided to open up their own shop, after having taken a liking to their new home and its residents.
“We fell in love with Ely when we first got here,” Diane Hansen said.
She recalled how much support her and her husband received when they bought the much larger building that the store is currently housed in back in 2004.
“It was one of the most amazing experiences,” she said. “People would just come up and ask if we needed help moving. Thanks to the help from everyone we were totally moved over in two or three days.”
One of those people that helped move the store was former Sheriff of White Pine County Buddy Sampson. The Hansen’s hired him and he has been with the store ever since. Diane pointed out that many of her current employees have been with the business since its start two decades ago.
“We are very blessed to have had amazing employees that have been with us from the start,” Hansen said. “And without the community here in Ely, we wouldn’t have a store, so we really try to listen to what they want and cater the store to their needs.”
The lawn and garden section of the store is just one of several that have been expanded in the recent years as a reaction to community feedback, according to Ray Hansen. He said he hopes that by offering the larger variety of goods, they can fill the needs of the community that might otherwise drive people out of town to larger chain stores.
“We try really hard to get people what they need here in town so they shop locally and don’t have to drive all the way to Las Vegas or Salt Lake City,” Hansen said.
The owner said that he places a lot of special orders for customers for just that reason. V&S even introduced a rewards card for local customers that reward them with discounts over time. Diane said that she sees the store as the place for local “do-it-yourselfers.”
For those with a DIY attitude, the Hansen’s said that V&S Variety True Value will celebrate Memorial Day weekend with a buy one, get one free sale on paint as well as free quart samples of colors.