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Ace to participate in Mid-South real estate event

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Oak Brook, Ill.-based Ace Hardware is one of more than 250 retailers, developers, vendors and retail real estate brokers scheduled to attend the second annual Mid-South Fall Retailer Kickoff at Harrah’s Tunica in Tunica, Miss., Sept. 10 and 11.

Last year, more than 300 local, regional and national retailers, developers, brokers and public officials attended the regional networking event, according to the Kickoff Web site.

Ace Hardware confirmed recently that Memphis is one of several areas the co-op is looking to penetrate. In fact, Germantown, Tenn.-based Trezevant Realty, one of the sponsors of the Kickoff, has announced plans to open 15 new Ace stores in the greater Memphis area in the next 18 to 24 months.

“That’s a real conservative estimate. It could be within a year,” said Barry Maynard, an affiliate broker with Trezevant.

Maynard said Ace is trying to establish a presence from northeast Arkansas to western Tennessee, one of the only areas left in the United States without an Ace footprint.

“You’ve got 40 to 50 submarkets outside Memphis and going toward Nashville,” he said. “None of them have huge populations, but they draw from large areas, and there’s a demand and a need for hardware stores.”

The new Ace stores would range from around 11,500 square feet to 70, 000 square feet, with some of the larger ones being established in former Kroger and Winn Dixie supermarket spaces, Maynard said.

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Former Westlake execs open True Value store

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Former Westlake Ace Hardware executives Brian Richards and Scott Westlake have formed their own True Value hardware chain, called SCW. The first store opened Aug. 30 in Overland Park, Kan.

Called Nuts and Bolts, the store is 51,000 square feet, about three times the size of a traditional True Value outlet. A second, 28,000-square-foot Nuts and Bolts is set to open sometime in September in Independence, Mo.

Both stores are based on the Destination True Value format, which emphasizes small projects and offers a broad product selection in core hardware categories that can be adapted to the needs of the individual store.

In addition to the traditional hardware departments, Nuts and Bolts offers a 4,000-square-foot customer service center where customers can get glass and keys cut, window screens repaired and knifes and scissors sharpened. The store has about 40 employees.

Richards, the company president, spent more than 30 years with Westlake — a 90-store chain with stores in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico — before partnering with Scott Westlake, the grandson of Westlake Ace’s founder.

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Toll Brothers posts third-quarter loss

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Toll Brothers, one of the nation’s largest home builders with a specialty in luxury homes, saw third-quarter losses of $29.3 million, plummeting from earnings of $26.5 million in the same period last year.

The Horsham, Pa.-based builder recorded a hefty $139.4 million pre-tax charge, $33.4 million of which was attributed to failed joint venture agreements. For the first nine months of the fiscal year, the builder has generated losses totaling $219 million.

Home-building revenues totaled $1.24 billion in the third quarter, down 31 percent from $1.8 billion in the same period last year.

Robert Toll, chairman and CEO for Toll Brothers, pulled no punches in his assessment of the results: “We are now completing the third year of the worst housing market since we started in 1967,” he said.

“Weak consumer confidence has kept many potential buyers from taking advantage of the current buyers’ market,” he noted. “We believe that most big public builders have sold off most of their inventory, which eventually should help stabilize home prices. However, we currently have to contend with foreclosures as the new low-priced competition.”

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