Employee-Owned Spotlight: Mountain Hardware and Sports

Randy Mueller


Certified EO is excited to spotlight Mountain Hardware and Sports, a 100% employee-owned hardware store that offers clothing, home decor, sporting goods, fishing gear, rental machinery equipment, and just about anything to fit a mountain lifestyle. Mountain Hardware has four locations tucked in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Northeast California, including two hardware stores and a small equipment rental store in Truckee, just north of Lake Tahoe, and a hardware store in Blairsden, on the southeast edge of Plumas National Forest.

Three long-time friends opened the first Mountain Hardware and Sports at the old Gateway center in Truckee in 1977, and in 1991 the store’s owners moved to open a store at one of its current locations right along Donner Lake.

In 2001, Mountain Hardware began its transition to becoming employee-owned. Initially 49% employee-owned following the establishment of its Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), the company became majority-EO in 2005, a few years after it opened its Blairsden location. By 2013, the company had acquired Truckee Rents, its equipment rental business, and it had achieved 100% employee ownership.

Now with over 100 employee-owners, Mountain Hardware and Sports ties its core values to its shared ownership structure. The company encourages employees to think and act like owners, understanding that daily and weekly contributions can positively impact the company’s performance and the growth of individual ESOP accounts.

Last June, Mountain Hardware and Sports celebrated the 8th anniversary of becoming 100% employee-owned (and the 18th anniversary of the team’s first entrants into the ESOP). The company created a video acknowledging the benefits and impact of the ESOP, which won the team an award at The ESOP Association’s 2022 Annual Awards for Communications Excellence.

“I think the thing I appreciate the most about being an employee-owned company is now after 18 years of being an ESOP, we’re starting to see accounts mature, and we’re starting to see balances that really are going to have a positive effect on people’s lives,” said one employee-owner in the video. “And that’s the whole concept, that it’s really a redistribution of wealth.”

On its blog and YouTube channel, Mountain Hardware and Sports posts about everything from DIY home and garden tips, to camping and hiking guides, and even installing tire cables for snowy terrain. The company remains active in volunteer and charity efforts in Truckee, including an annual memorial golf event held in honor of one of the company’s founders, Dane Skutt.

Mountain Hardware and Sports became a Certified EO member in 2017. To learn more about the company, visit its website.

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