Klingenberg's Hardware celebrates its first century in Northern Kentucky in 2022. This hardware story is about family, community, faith, building supplies, and romance- things that make the heart warm and the hardware durable.
Joseph Klingenberg grew up in the Over the Rhine neighborhood in Cincinnati, but moved to Northern Kentucky after a stint in the service near the end of World War I. In 1919 he got married and his wife Freda soon convinced him to leave the road as a paint salesman and go into business for himself. This he did in 1922, and Klingenberg's Hardware was born.
Harry Humpert, lived down the street from Klingenberg's Hardware and began to work there as a delivery boy. After serving in the Air Force in World War II, Harry graduated from Dayton University in business and began his career as a Liberty Cherry salesman. When his old boss, Joe, asked him to return to work with the intention of buying the business, he eagerly did.
John Humpert, Harry's oldest son, graduated in broadcasting from Western Kentucky University and went to work at the family store, learning all aspects of the business. He took over management upon his father Harry's retirement. All the while he kept his hand in broadcasting, hosting jazz and blues programming at NKU's public radio station.
GREENUP STREET STORE
Joseph Klingenberg opened a small storefront in Covington in 1922, but within six years built a new one at 12th and Greenup, where it remained for the rest of the century. Four of Joe's brothers then developed a chain as they established other stores across Northern Kentucky from Dayton on the east to Erlanger on the west.
WINSTON AVENUE STORE
Harry Humpert, after purchasing the hardware store from Mr. Klingenberg, decided to keep the well-known name and remain a part of the mostly family-owned chain of stores. He continued to do business at Greenup Street for two decades. In 1976 he bought a vacant bowling alley in Latonia and revamped the space for retail.
7TH STREET STORE
John Humpert assumed ownership of Klingenberg's with two existing locations: Greenup Street and Winston Avenue. Near the end of the 20th century he decided to move from the Greenup Street location to a more convenient place for customers and an expanded space for product. He found the George H. Hill Company on Pike and 7th ideal.