Prison policy locks out the local hardware store

An article in reports that a procurement policy for Eastern Correctional Institution in Maryland is cutting out the local hardware store.

In an blow to the buy-local movement, an Ace dealer in Princess Anne, Md., was told that Eastern Correctional Institution is handcuffed into buying from national supplier W.W. Grainger.

The article quotes Bill Harris, the owner of two Ace stores that formerly received business orders from the Maryland prison: “They should be supporting the local economy -- period.”

Prison officials are looking to get a waiver on the requirement so that the prison could shop locally for hardware and other building materials, according to the article.

When contacted by Home Channel News, the state's Department of General Services, which manages procurement for the prison, said the policy of buying from Grainger is neither unusual, nor new. The rule has been inplace since at least 2007, according to spokeswoman Susan Woods. "This is basically to protect taxpayer interests and streamline the quality service across the board," she said. 

The law has a provision whereby the prison can purchase locally from a non-Grainger supplier for items under $1,000, as long as the total of off-contract purchases for the year is under $5,000.


- 5:24 PM
Don Boulter says

This is becoming more common, We used to have a charge Account with our local college, Whittier College, but they have now cut us off because they were told to buy from Graingers (in another city) We have lost a $15,000 dollar account!

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