JOhn Dent TomatoSometimes, friendships grow from what began as business transactions. For decades, Perry Wellness Center founder and CEO Stuart Perry has maintained a friendship with John Dent of Dent Hardware Company of Buena Vista (Stuart’s hometown). The relationship began with the long-ago expansion and relocation of Dent Poultry Company from Tazewell to Buena Vista. A business venture began between the two men’s fathers when the Dent family brought their poultry carriers to the Perry family business, now Perry Brothers Oil Company, for upkeep and fuel provision.

In recent years, Dent Hardware has provided community support to Perry Wellness Center and Rudy’s Happy Patch Market. John Dent has provided a collection container for the ongoing pop-tab donations to peer Kaylon Holt’s volunteer project on behalf of Ronald McDonald House in Columbus. Of late, the downtown hardware company has provided display space for the popular Mobile Market, which periodically parks across the street on Dent Hardware property, directly across from the Gas and Go, a Perry Brothers fuel and food location. (Demonstrating the inter-generational nature of these connections, Gas and Go was formerly the Perry Standard Oil location.) The market on wheels sells a variety of fresh produce and growing plants to Marion County customers – including John Dent.

Recently, Mr. Dent shared his “addiction” to fresh vine-ripened tomatoes from Happy Patch, saying, “Connie and her mother, Joyce, and I enjoy at least one fresh tomato each night for supper. Mulkey [McMichael, PWC staff member and Marion County resident] now delivers my weekly order. We always have bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches or a single slice tomato on our dinner plates. I am pleased that Happy Patch offers such garden tomatoes. I do not like them greenhouse-produced.”

Fresh grown tomatoes are indeed the best! In the photo above, John Dent displays his most recent delivery from Rudy’s Happy Patch Market.

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