Throwback Thursday: Hechinger in Virginia

A future senator helped preside over on opening day for a new home center.

From left: John Hechinger, Charles Robb and Richard England.

The Oct. 13, 1980 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, covered the opening of a Hechinger home improvement store in Richmond, Va. The new store measured 60,000 sq. ft., with a 20,000-sq. ft. garden center and marked the 27th in the Hechinger fleet.  

At the board-cutting ceremony were some heavy hitters. In the photo above are John Hechinger, president of the Landover, Md.-based home center; Charles Robb, Virginia’s lieutenant governor; and Richard England, chairman of Hechinger. John Hechinger was the son of company founder Sidney Hechinger, and England was Sidney’s son in law.

Robb, who in the photo appears comfortable performing store-opening duties as lieutenant governor, apparently desired more from his political career. And he got it. The ambitious politician rose to national prominence – first as governor of Virginia from 1982 to 1986, and then as United States Senator from 1989 to 2001.

Hechinger, after a long and innovative run in the home improvement industry that began in 1919, would declare bankruptcy and close for good in 1999.

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