Zarbano, Megan (Schmidt)
Awarded in 2018
Megan (Schmidt) Zarbano received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from Valley City State University in 2008 and recently completed the Retail Management Certification Program from Ball State University.
Zarbano is the President/Owner of Handy Hardware and Retail in Valley City.
Zarbano started working at the hardware store at the age of 16 and within weeks was closing the store. She continued working at the hardware store while attending VCSU and earning her degree. Within eight months of graduating from VCSU the owner of the hardware store decided to retire and Megan, 23 years old at the time, along with her husband Tony purchased it and named it Handy Hardware & Rental. Since taking over they have expanded the building and reset the aisles to make the store easier to shop. Through these updates the store sales increased, and the store ranks No. 4 in total paint sales among all of United Hardware’s Valspar paint sales. Zarbano was recently recognized as the Young Retailer of the Year by the North American Retail Hardware Association.
Other awards and honors include the Distinguished Achievement Award by Valspar Corporation and serving on the Board of Directors with United Hardware Distributing Company.
Zarbano is involved in the Valley City Rotary Club and many community activities throughout the year. She contributes to both our V-500 and Century Club Scholarship programs donating items to our VCSU Scholarship Auction. In addition, she has donated pallets of water to be used and sold in the concession stands with proceeds going to the athletic department.
When asked what being a graduate of VCSU means to year – Zarbano replied, “Being a graduate of VCSU has solidified my feeling of community in Valley City. Even though I was born and raised in the City of Bridges, my passion for the community didn’t truly develop until I was a student at VCSU. We took field trips and did service projects, getting involved in different aspects of the community. I was able to do projects and activities that related to my actual position as manager at the hardware store. Through the small class sizes and individualized attention from professors, I felt they sincerely wanted to see me succeed. Having their support and encouragement gave me the confidence to pursue my dream of owning a retail business. I’m proud to be part of the legacy and choosing to attend VCSU kept me grounded and enhanced my roots in my community”.
Special memories include: The lifelong friends she met while attending VCSU, but it is also where she met her husband Tony. He was not a student of VCSU, but his off-campus roommate was. Tony’s roomie dragged him to a Wednesday night VCSU dance. As he walked in the door to the Eagles, she recognized him as a customer from the hardware store. She didn’t really know him but decided that it would be her mission to. She walked up next to him and gently kicked him in the butt and walked away. Of course, he followed her, and they were inseparable for the rest of the night. Twelve plus years later they’re still married and share in the joy of parenting two little boys. If it wasn’t for VCSU, they may have never developed past a customer relationship.