The history of McLendon Hardware begins in 1894, in the hills of Tennessee where M.J. McLendon was born. Knowing by the age of fourteen that six mouths would be too much for a part-time traveling school teacher to feed, he left home. He walked to Texas and got a job harvesting wheat with a crew that traveled between Texas and Manitoba, Canada. Later as a surveyor for the Canadian Government he helped map the Peace River in Alberta and Manitoba.
He served in the Canadian Army during WWI, where he was both gassed and wounded. Discharged and shipped back to Alberta, he met and courted Helen Emery. Born in Iowa, Helen's family moved to Alberta soon after. They married and quickly moved (Helen hated the Alberta winters) to Portland, Oregon. They were soon joined by her father and mother, George and Cassie Emery. Mac, as he became known, and George did odd jobs in the Portland area.
During this time, 1921, Dorothy, the first of six children was born. She would be joined by Bob in 1923, Wanda in 1926, and Ted in 1928, Pat in 1937 and Jan in 1940. In 1926 both families moved to the Seattle- Renton area. Mac went to work for George when he bought a second hand store in Renton. This is where Mac got his start; the two of them would travel around Renton and South Seattle by horse drawn wagon house to house, collecting used tools, light fixtures, buckets, tubs and whatever else they felt they could resell. They were early "garage sale" shoppers and recyclers. A competing second hand store across the alley gave Mac the opportunity he felt ready for - owning his own store. For $500 he bought a fifty percent share. Dale & McLendon would go on to be a successful business for decades at 320 Wells St. in Renton, WA.
By the 50's, Bob and Ted were involved. They had started to sell more and more new products as the "do it yourself" movement started. Bob McLendon, a WWII vet, felt this trend would be the future. In 1960 they moved the store to 1020 Bronson Way, next to the Cedar River. The name was changed to McLendon Hardware Inc. Sisters Dorothy and Wanda joined their brothers and father. They out grew this location quickly and moved to a larger location on the corner of 2nd and Williams in 1965. They remained in this location for over four decades. During this time the second generation began to take over the running of the business. Pop and Mom McLendon began the process of retiring.
In 1971 McLendon's opened a second store in Sumner, Washington. In 1973 Mom McLendon passed away. The third generation began making their appearance, over a dozen grandchildren were working in both stores and the distribution center that was purchased in the mid seventies. M.J."Pop" McLendon passed away in 1979. June 15, 1981 the Renton store burned to the ground and was declared a total loss. Before the fire was extinguished, a decision had been made by Bob and the family to rebuild an even larger store at the same address. The summer of 1982 was busy for McLendon's, the Renton store reopened in June, and a new larger store in Sumner opened.
By the mid-eighties it became very apparent that expansion was needed; but expand where? Then we began asking our customers where we should be looking. McLendon Hardware locations all came about using this method. Woodinville opened in 1988; Puyallup opened in 1990, White Center opened in 1993, and Kent opened in 1996. They spoke and we listened. In 2004 the Renton store was relocated to the biggest store yet: a 117,000 sq. ft. giant that previously housed a K-Mart. In stocking over 75,000 different items it is not unusual to see items hanging from the ceiling, walls or other parts of the building.
At this time McLendon Hardware Inc. consists of six retail hardware stores, two distribution centers, and over five hundred employees. The third and fourth generations are in management positions and new locations are under consideration.