Throwback Thursday: Big store near Boston

Back in 1987, the size of P.F. O’Connor’s massive new home center set a U.S. record.

Patrick O'Connor, third from right, oversaw the record-breaking opening.

The Dec. 28, 1987 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, featured the story “P.F. O’Connor debuts largest ever U.S. warehouse in Mass.”

The story describes how, under the leadership of Patrick O’Connor, the P.F. O’Connor team tore down a distribution center and built a 300,000 sq. ft. retail store as part of a facility with six acres of product including heavy millwork and building materials, 10 checkouts.

A National Home Center News reporter was on the scene, describing the main power aisle as “wide as a two-lane highway.”

She also reported:  “The cavernous store has a number of strengths in kitchen and bath and millwork. But it is currently hampered by poor lighting which, together with the original black warehouse racking, detracts from the original displays.”

And she also reported: “Park benches can also be found in these aisles. The benches were added in response to comments from Isabella O’Connor, the president’s mother, after she had a long walk through the store. “

An out: “The question remains whether this store can generate enough traffic to support its size and hold its own against its major Boston competitors.”

An online search of P.F. O’Connor revealed no evidence of the store as a going concern.

P.F. O’Connor is not to be confused with, J.P. O’Connor, a successful True Value hardware store in Billerica, Mass.

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Do you remember P.F. O’Connor’s record breaking store? Let us know here.

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