Back when he bought the business — which, he comments, is itself a long story he’d rather not get into — he “had no idea where to buy anything,” he said. The building needed some repairs, so he jumped in with both feet as a business owner.
When he wasn’t working at a Monticello factory, Pritts tooks his spot behind the register at the hardware store. His father, an employee at a Logansport factory, helped out, as did his wife.
Eventually, Pritts made the hardware store his full-time job and took on a couple of routes delivering LP gas on the side, he said.
He also began repairing small engines.
“I’ve been doing that since I was 12 or 13 years old,” he said. That started with an old Wizard motorbike he had in his teens. “I was fixing that almost every day,” he said.
He recalls one day about a decade ago when a peeved customer brought a riding lawn mower that he’d worked on. “He really chewed me out,” recalled Pritts. The repair was no good, the customer told him.
“Come to find out, it was out of gas,” said Pritts, grinning. “I put some gas in it, and it took right off.”
Pritts grew up about 5 miles outside of Burnettville, where his parents moved after their marriage in Camden. He stuck around, becoming a fixture in the town — he’s been chief of the volunteer fire department, and now superintends the town’s sewer plant and manages Davis Cemetery. He’s managed the cemetery just east of Burnettsville’s town limits for the past 38 years.
He and his brother trade off plowing at the sewer plant in the winter, he said. “I’m usually the early riser.”
By the time he opens the shop at 8 a.m. every day except Sunday, he’s been awake for five hours. He tends to customers’ needs till 5 p.m.