December 23, 2022
 Contact:, 202-224-4343

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Recently, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, recognized Cottingham Hardware of Alexandria, Kentucky as the Senate Small Business of the Week.

Dr. Paul entered the following into the Congressional Record:

Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, as Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, each week I recognize an outstanding Kentucky small business that exemplifies the American entrepreneurial spirit. This week, it is my privilege to recognize Cottingham Hardware of Alexandria, Kentucky as the Senate Small Business of the Week.

All across the nation are American small towns whose main street businesses bring color and vibrancy to their community. These businesses might be stores that occupy a specific niche, or may be the product of one entrepreneur’s dreams turned reality. Many of these businesses however, are simply shops that the community has come to rely on, with a top-quality product or service that keeps their customers coming back. Such is the case for Alexandria’s Cottingham Hardware, also referred to as Cottingham Ace, that was founded in 1957. This hardware store has been faithfully serving its’ customers for sixty-five years, easily cementing the business as community institution. 

Sixty-five years ago, Tom and Betty Cottingham opened Cottingham Hardware, a hardware store right in the heart of the little town of Alexandria, Kentucky. Since its’ inception over six decades ago, the store has been dutifully serving its customers, offering them whatever hardware goods they might need, including but not limited to, specialty chrome, electrical lighting, as well as lawn and garden tools. The store also carries a large selection of firearms and ammunition, making the shop especially popular during Northern Kentucky’s busy hunting season. In addition to the wide array of products available for purchase at Cottingham, the store has two mechanics who are always available to meet the needs of customers, with both mechanics having received the proper training and certification to handle practically any job. They boast a selection that is appropriate for all types of customers, whether they be a first-time home owner or the owner of multi-acre properties, they have the products and services to help with any project.

Started by a married couple, Cottingham Hardware continues to be a family business. Tom and Betty’s three sons practically grew up in the store, so it would only make sense that the three men choose to perpetuate their parents’ dream and run the store with the same dedication and customer-friendly atmosphere that Tom and Betty created. The three sons, Tom, Mike, and Joe, took over the business in the mid 90’s, roughly a decade after Cottingham Hardware moved from their original location right in Alexandria out to U.S. Highway 27. The three brothers led the business through a vast array of modernizations, opting for computerized systems in place of the original manual inventory and registry systems. Today, Cottingham Hardware can easily locate a necessary piece of machinery as it travels along the supply chain before arriving at their store. The Cottingham men understood that to lead their parents’ business into the modern era requires these types of technological advancements, and they make sure Cottingham Hardware stays on the cutting edge of modern computer equipment.

In addition to their eye for key modernizations to the hardware store, the Cottingham brothers understand that their parents’ success was due in large part to their dedication to family values. Tom, Mike, and Joe maintain a strict policy that at least one of the Cottingham brothers is in store at any given time during business hours, all seven days a week. Friends and neighbors are constantly coming through their doors to purchase tools or equipment and to visit with the familiar faces of the Cottingham store. These days even the brothers’ children occasionally work with them in store, entering in to a new generation of Cottingham family leadership. Moreover, Cottingham Hardware maintains their dedication to the Alexandria community, as they often participate in donations for local schools and churches. Additionally, Joe Cottingham is a member of the Northern Kentucky Area Development District (NKADD), representing Campbell County. NKADD strives to achieve sustainable economic growth and improve the overall quality of life for the citizens of Kentucky. Clearly the Cottingham family is dedicated not only to running a successful family business, but to championing and supporting small businesses around the state as well. For that reason, it gives me great pleasure to honor this multi-generation family business as the Senate Small Business of the Week. Congratulations to the Cottingham brothers and the entire team at Cottingham Hardware. I look forward to seeing your continued growth and success in Kentucky.

As Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Dr. Paul continues the tradition of honoring America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship oversees proposed legislation on matters relating to the Small Business Administration and investigates all problems relating to America’s small businesses.


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