William A. Morgan, Jr. Entrepreneur of the Year 2018
Nancy Reader, Hearth and Home Furnishings
The Butler County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Nancy Reader, Hearth and Home Furnishings, has been selected as the William A. Morgan, Jr. Entrepreneur of the Year 2018. “What else can we do with this?” Nancy Reader recalls asking herself in the 1970s. Then, her late husband Jim owned L&R Glass, and she was doing the book work, raising her young children and working with an occasional customer to replace a broken fireplace glass. Born of the question of how to expand the operation was Reader’s own business, “Hearth & Home Furnishings” in Zelienople. Now celebrating a 35-year anniversary and 14-employees strong, the success of Hearth & Home Furnishings coupled with Reader’s community and charitable contributions earned her this year’s William A. Morgan Jr. Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Today, Hearth & Home Furnishings offers what Reader describes as a “boutique for fireplaces” in its two-story, 9,000-square-foot showroom. “We really associate with remodelers,” Reader said, noting that it’s not unusual for customers to drive more than 100 miles to visit. Outdoor furnishings and fireplace product lines get rotated regularly in keeping with trends and styles. Some employees are even trained chimney sweeps. Growing the business has been a lot of work since Jim Reader, who died in 2007, first bought an old gas station in 1976. Reader also has volunteered for organizations “all over the map,” she said. Years ago, she was involved with the Zelienople Junior Woman’s Club and helped start the preschool group Zippco. She’s done story hour at the library and was an elder and deacon at Calvin Presbyterian Church. She’s a “Fan of the Strand (Theater)” and also donates her annual “Eggfest,” proceeds to the Southwest Food Cupboard. The Big Green Egg, a smoker sold at the store, is the impetus of the event.
Since 2009, Reader also has hosted the “Warm Your Hearth, Touch a Heart” campaign on behalf of the Dollar Energy Fund. The Dollar Energy Fund benefits families struggling to pay home heating costs. According to a letter submitted to the Chamber of Commerce by the Dollar Energy Fund, “the Warm Your Hearth, Touch a Heart” Campaign has generated more than $151,000 in utility assistance, which provided more than 435 grants to households in Butler. In addition to supporting Dollar Energy Fund through her business, Nancy has provided personal donations, attended other Dollar Energy Fund events, and had served as a community resource for the organization.” Nancy serves as a Director on the Board of the Butler County Chamber of Commerce.
Presented at the Butler County Chamber of Commerce “Celebrate Business” Annual Dinner – Wednesday, September 12, 2018