Miller’s Pro Hardware Store
By Eric T. Campbell
The Michigan Citizen
As winter has finally given way to spring in Michigan, homeowners will surely start turning their attention to warm weather projects.
Spring cleaning, gardening and small fix-its will require the aid of a good neighborhood hardware store. If you live in the neighborhood of Schaefer and Seven Mile you’re lucky to have the services and supplies of Miller’s Pro Hardware.
There aren’t many real family run businesses left in town as the larger, big-box style operations seem determined to dominate in as many markets as possible.
The Tinnons, however, have run a small, yet well stocked hardware store without the aid of high profile ads and web pages. Curtis Tinnon Sr. is a plumber by trade and took the opportunity to take over Miller’s Pro Hardware with his brother twelve years ago.
“My father is in plumbing and has been in and out of hardware stores throughout his life”, Curtis Tinnon Jr. said. “He figured it would be a good opportunity to get his own store.”
He bought the business and kept the name of the previous owner, as it already had name recognition.
Tinnon Sr. still considers the plumbing portion of the business his mainstay and prides himself on being able to handle any problem a residence or business is likely to incur. Drain cleaning, faucet repair, and pipe replacement all fall comfortably into the Tinnon’s range of expertise.
The Tinnons did attempt, at one time, running a television spot on WHFR and they occasionally flyer the neighborhood. But the Tinnons rely mostly on word of mouth to attract newcomers and good service to keep their regulars.
There’s a Home Depot at Seven Mile and Meyers and conventional wisdom would say that the presence of the do-it-yourself megastore would be a threat. But to their surprise it wasn’t all bad news when the store opened.
“A lot of guys working down there would recommend people to come here first,” says Tinnon Jr. “Or people just passing by seeing us first, on their way to Home Depot — they’d stop here and find out we’re a Black business. It’s been a lotta love shown”.
In addition to the plumbing, Miller’s Pro Hardware also features custom glass cutting and is able to fit and install windows for almost any occasion.
The area designated for key-making is impressive. The list of general services and merchandise rivals that of any general hardware store and even includes installation of doors and hot water tanks.
Carpet steam cleaners can be rented by the day.
Everything one might need to supply an exterior or interior house painting project is available on the shelves. Electrical supplies and lawn care and cleaning products are well-stocked, as well as things required for light car maintenance.
For the avid gardener you’ll find rakes, wheel barrows, pitchforks and hoes.
Tinnon Jr.’s mother often works at the store and when his brother comes home from school in the summer he’ll also be found putting hours into the venture.
The family business lives on in the Detroit area, but rarely do you find an instance in which all the members are involved.
“We still get people saying they didn’t know there was a hardware store in the area”, says Tinnon Jr.
For those that do know, spread the word– getting those projects off the ground and supporting local, Black entrepreneurs are both worthy summertime aspirations.
Visit Miller’s Pro Hardware Store at 13636 Seven Mile a half block west of Shaefer. Call for more information at 313-341-0861.