HARDWARE STORES

CNRG empire grows in the Gulf

BY Ken Clark

Natchez, Miss.-based Central Network Retail Group (CNRG) acquired Ace Hardware in Monticello, Miss., and announced plans for another new store in Rayville, La.

The Mississippi store, which has been rebranded as a Home Hardware Center, is located at 134 West Broad Street in Monticello.

A grand reopening celebration for the new location is scheduled for Sept. 28. The store has a 14,000-sq.-ft. sales floor with a large assortment of hardware, paint, electrical, plumbing, tools, lawn & garden and home organization items.

CNRG also announced plans for the opening of a new store in Rayville, La. Construction is already under way to prepare the site at 2004 South Julie Street in Rayville. The new store is expected to open in November with a 14,000-sq.-ft. sales floor, plus a drive-through lumberyard with a full assortment of lumber and building materials.

“We are excited about the growth of our Home Hardware Center stores,” said Jimmy R.Smith, chairman of CNRG. “With these stores we now operate 22 stores under the Home Hardware Center brand in Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee.”

Boyden Moore, president of CNRG, added, “We are working on growth plans for each of the brands we currently operate, as well as assessing opportunities to acquire other brands in new markets. We are excited about this step forward in our growth and look forward to more to come.”

CNRG currently operates 38 home center and hardware stores in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, and North Carolina under the Home Hardware Center, Morrison Terrebonne Lumber Center, NFL Home Center, Elliott’s Hardware, and Town & Country Hardware brands.

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Hammers, nails and hard liquor

BY Brae Canlen

Towne Lake Hardware in the Lake Forest Park area of Washington State has an unusual niche for a hardware dealer: hard liquor. 

The Ace dealer sells tools, paint and other home improvement items, according to an article in the Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Patch, but its 12,000-sq.-ft. size allows the owners to add hard liquor under Initiative 1183, the local liquor privatization rule.  

Brothers Tim and Joe Uhrich opened their store in November 2009, in the depth of the recession, but business has been good, they said. 

"We can put anything in here and get away with it," Tim Uhrich told the newspaper. "We continually look to improve every department in the store as we see opportunities."

"When we get into a category, we give it our own spin," he added. "We don’t need to copy what Albertsons and Rite Aid do."

For example, the store sells several regional liquor brands, such as Mischief whiskey, made in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood; and Dry Fly whiskey, gin and vodka, which comes from Spokane.

Pet food and toys, arts and crafts products, bike accessories and canning supplies round out the assortment.

The brothers compete against Home Depot and several independent hardware stores, including McClendon’s in Woodinville. "[But] they’re all different," Uhrich said.

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Report: Fischer Hardware in Virginia will close

BY HBSDealer Staff

A small-town Virginia hardware store that is involved in a lawsuit with its co-op will close Friday, according to a report in the Washington Post.

Last week, a court ruled that a lawsuit brought by Fischer Hardware’s owners, Roy and Pattie Ewers, against Ace Hardware can proceed. The article reports that the Springfield, Va., store’s bank ordered the store closed until a clearer financial picture emerges.

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