Tom and Lori Koslowsky of Hillsboro learned 30 years ago how to combine work and fun as part owners and workers at the Hillsboro Hardware store. They also enjoy opportunities for Christmas gift-giving fun during each holiday season.
“One year I had him order his own present and he had no idea it was his,” Lori Koslowsky said. “I had a friend come in and order it from him, put it on his account even. Then when it came in, I just had them deliver it to his garage. That was a fun surprise.”
Tom Koslowsky made use of Lori’s kitchen ordering interests at their Hillsboro store one year, creatively disguising a present he knew she really wanted.
“He gave me several different types of frying pans wrapped up under the tree,” she said. “Some even had recipes taped to them, which I thought was nice. The very last one had an operator’s manual for a new oven. I thought the pans were it, but he knew what I really wanted.”
Through the years the couple learned each other’s wants and needs, and this year, came up with the ultimate shared present, even though the weather cast a damper on construction schedules.
“We decided to build a new storage shed for Christmas,” she said. “Tom needed more space to store his toys, and I always wanted room for lawn stuff.”
Tom Koslowsky collects farm toys, and until now stored them on shelves lining the top of the walls of the Hillsboro Hardware store. However, that storage space is now full and another option needed.
“I have thousands up there,” he said. “It’s something I’ve always done. He who has the most toys wins.”
Lori Koslowsky said she always wanted a lawn cart, but until they came up with a storage-shed idea, never had a place to store one.
“I’ve always enjoyed landscaping and working with flowers,” she said. “It will be so nice to have a place to put things now.”
Groundwork for the 30-by-60 foot shed was well under way when the area finally received some much-needed rain.
“We certainly won’t complain about the rain,” Tom Koslowsky said. “But it did put our shed plans behind schedule and it won’t be ready in time for Christmas.”
Lori Koslowsky said they had other gifts for each other to fill the void, since the shed would not be ready.
“I know what I am getting already,” she said. “But I cannot divulge Tom’s gift. It’s still a surprise.”
The couple spends quite a bit of time at the store, co-owned with Tom’s brother, Ken Koslowsky.
“I am here five days a week and Tom comes in six, sometimes seven days each week,” Lori Koslowsky said. “It’s a big part of our lives.”
She said sales at the store were strong this season, especially in November.
“We sold a record number of pre-lit Christmas trees this year, 55,” she said. “Other hot items were hand and power tools, crock pots, and the wireless weather thermometers. We sold completely out of them.”
Tom said the couple share responsibilities at the store, such as stocking and counter sales. He was primarily responsible for ordering, while she considered her specialty the kitchen section.