HARDWARE STORES

Connecticut store to close

BY Brae Canlen

Newton Hardware, a fixture in New Britain, Conn., for 31 years, is closing its doors. A liquidation sale that began in September is expected to conclude by the end of this month. Owners Al and Linda Brown, interviewed in The New Britain Herald, said they’re ready to retire.

In addition to a full hardware and tools assortment, and specialty items such as canning supplies and bat houses, Newton Hardware sold and serviced outdoor power equipment. Brown performed all the repairs himself, including a free oil change on new lawnmowers he sold after five hours of use.

“It created metal chips in the engine after that first time,” Brown explained. “I wanted the machine to last them a lot of years.”

Brown’s personal best, in terms of repair records, was following a snowstorm three years ago; he fixed 20 broken snow blowers in three days. “I’m 75 years old now,” Brown told The Herald. “Working those kind of hours, doing the job of four people, it’s time to retire.”

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Orchard Supply continues rollout of new format

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Orchard Supply Hardware Stores Corp. announced it will add two California stores to its rollout of a new neighborhood format, with the grand re-openings of a pair of stores in the company’s hometown of San Jose on Oct. 6. 

Both stores have been operational for years, but the company said that the reformatting is so significant that they would be marked by grand re-opening celebrations.

According to Mark Baker, Orchard president and CEO, the upgrades are intended to help the company leverage the “white space” between small, independently owned hardware stores and big-box home improvement stores. 

By year end, Orchard plans to have 12 stores operating in the new neighborhood store format, which features a racetrack configuration to maximize traffic flow, and an expanded and centralized customer-service area coined the “Workbench,” where customers get assistance with basic hardware needs such as tool and knife sharpening, rescreening, lock rekeying, pipe threading, and cutting pipe, conduit, chain, cable or rope. The new format also features an expanded paint area and enlarged indoor/outdoor nursery and garden supply area.

Orchard’s neighborhood format was piloted at its San Jose Princeton Plaza store, which opened in September 2011.

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Cash mob finds new store owner

BY Brae Canlen

The cash mob that descended on Newtown Hardware House on April 28, 2012, gave the store an economic boost and lots of publicity, but it wasn’t enough to rescue the 143-year-old store. Owner Dave Callahan announced this summer that he was closing up shop due to the economy, competitive pressureand a wish to retire at age 70.

But the Buck County, Pa., store had gained some notoriety through the cash-mob event, and once word of its demise got out, an interested — and unidentified — party stepped forward to inquire about the business.

“He heard …. we were closing and came to me and just said he didn’t want to see it close, and we reached a deal,"  Callahan told the Bucks County Courier Times. "I expect the store to change owners about Oct.1, but that’s an estimate because there is a lot of paperwork to do. The transition should be seamless. People probably won’t even notice the difference.”

The new owner will be only the fifth in the history of the store, which opened in 1869. 

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