Melvin R. Harding was the founder of Harding's Friendly Markets.
Mr. Harding started his grocery career in 1925 with a national chain and in 1944 he opened the first Harding's Friendly Market in Parchment, Michigan.
The first Harding's Friendly Market, though modest by today's standards (approximately 7,500 sq. ft.), proved to be the beginning of our group now serving Southwest Michigan and Northern Indiana.
Some of the early pioneers in the development of Harding's Friendly Markets include Herb Corum, Roscoe Hill, Dutch Spierling, Millie Ponds, Dave Kauffman and Lee Miller; many of these names are recognizable due to the fact that their sons and grandsons are still involved in the ownership and operation of the Harding's Friendly Markets today.
The Harding's Company was built on a basic business philosophy. That philosophy quite simply is the "HARDING'S CUSTOMERS DESERVE THE BEST SERVICE POSSIBLE PROVIDED BY FRIENDLY EMPLOYEES." Mr. Harding believed so strongly in this concept that no shopper left the store carrying their own groceries, and if any shopper entered the check-out lane without being spoken to by at least one employee, the shopper was awarded a sizable cash refund against their purchases.
This basic business belief is as important today as it was in the beginning.