The name Harry Adler is part of the local vernacular in the town of Providence, Rhode Island. A founding partner of C2 Paint, his family has owned one of the most beloved businesses in the area, Adler’s Hardware for nearly a century. That’s right, since 1919 Adler’s has been a staple of the Providence community.
“When Woodrow Wilson was president, we were here. When women gained the right to vote, we were here. When man first walked on the moon, we were here. We’ve survived the Great Depression, Y2K and even the Big Box stores.”
Offering paint, hardware, home goods and a design center, Adler’s has evolved throughout the years to cater to the needs of its customers. For Adler, being a business owner is more than just making money; it’s about being a valuable part of the community. He tells us how working with the right organizations helps him connect with his community, while also raising the awareness of his brand.
How did you get involved with community projects?
In Providence, we have a lot of historical properties so it makes sense to align with a preservation society, which is an integral part of our community. Given the state of funding for non-profits, most are looking for funding and trade resources.We like to find a way to provide them with a service, like paint.
What projects are you currently involved with?
We do a lot of projects with the Providence Revolving Fund whose mission is to preserve Providence’s architectural heritage and stimulate community revitalization through advocacy, lending, technical assistance, and development in historic areas. Currently, we are helping to revitalize a property at 49 Princeton. We will be providing paint to help restore the exterior.
We are also gearing up for another exciting project at the historic The Wedding Cake House, a beautiful mansion built in 1880. Once the pride of Providence, it was occupied by the Tirocchi sisters who ran their couture business out of the posh location on Broadway Street from 1915 to 1947.
This historical building, which is listed as one of Rhode Island’s 10 most endangered properties, is undergoing an ambitious restoration. We plan to provide exterior paint, as this will no doubt be an extremely visible project. The community is very grateful that this property is getting the attention it deserves so we are happy to be a part of that process. See the progress here!
What is the result you’ve seen personally and professionally from your involvement?
It’s really about generating community good will, which creates an opportunity to make a deeper connection with the community on both a personal and professional level, specifically with the people that are loyal to that organization. We find this to be a very valuable form of advertising since non-profits and the people that support them tend to be very loyal. Our goal is to help our community continue to evolve and transform.
Why is getting involved with a community-based project appealing to you as a business owner?
The world of marketing and advertising is so competitive; there are so many options now…so much noise. There are few vehicles that can separate you from the larger competition in terms of traditional advertising, so you have to find other ways to stand out. For me, it’s been about finding opportunities to emotionally connect with the community. Supporting a non-profit and finding a way to help an organization that people care about is a really great way to accomplish a lot of things at the same time – you form an emotional bond, receive incredible visibility, receive an endorsement and at the end of the day are doing a good thing. You can offer amazing service, all the best products… but the ultimate goal for a local business is to become part of the fabric of your community.