HARDWARE STORES

Florida hardware store closing after six decades

BY Brae Canlen

Knotts Hardware, a Tampa, Fla., area hardware store, shut down for good on Oct. 12, according to an article in The Tampa Tribune. Johnny Knotts, whose grandfather Ben founded the store in the 1950s, blamed a poor economy, competition from home improvement chain stores and declining commercial accounts.

The business, located on Main Street in Plant City, Fla., once served commercial customers from phosphate mines and factories. Retail business began to decline as customers moved to suburban shopping centers, Knotts said.

"I feel like I’m letting my grandfather’s dream die,” said the 52-year-old. “For a long time I was in denial. But I had to face the hard truth that it’s time to close."

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Owner disputes impact of big-box competition

BY Ken Clark

It wasn’t a nearby Home Depot that led to the business woes of a Madison, Wis., hardware store, said its owner.

According to an article in the Cap Times, a local hardware store owner pointed to crime and deteriorating conditions in the Madison, Wis., store’s neighborhood as the leading cause for its pending going-out-of-business sale.

Mayor Paul Soglin told the newspaper that competition from Home Depot led to the demise of the neighborhood store.

Deny Lochner, owner of the Meadowood Ace hardware store, sent an email that said: "Mayor Soglin is wrong to state that retail competition put us out of business. Home Depot has been here for 12 to 15 years. Our sales dipped slightly the first year they opened and increased almost every year after that. Our biggest sales years were after they opened!"
 

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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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