HARDWARE STORES

Got milk? Lawrence Bros. combines hardware and grocery

BY Ken Clark

A 16-unit supermarket company in Texas and New Mexico is taking the plunge into the hardware business at one of its stores. 

A 32,000-sq.-ft. store in Abilene, Texas, has altered its format to combine hardware and groceries., with 35% of the building dedicated to home improvement and repairs, according to an article in the Abilene Reporter-News

Another unusual operational feature of the CashSaver Cost Plus Food Outlet is its pricing strategy — described as cost plus 10%.

Lawrence Bros. operates 16 stores in Texas and New Mexico, and has teamed with Oak Brook, Ill.-based Ace Hardware as its supplier. 

The combination of hardware and groceries was described as a groundbreaking partnership between a grocery store and a hardware business, but it’s not the first.

In Louisiana, Kief Hardware, a Do it Best dealer, offers a sizeable grocery business in a format called Kief Hardware Neighborhood Market. Menards also was an early experimenter in the grocery business, with several aisles in its big-box format dedicated to grocery staples. 

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Ellis Hardware reaches milestone

BY Ken Clark

This summer, a hardware store in Seneca, Ill., is celebrating its 140th anniversary. Ellis Ace Hardware opened in 1872, and 14 decades later, it’s still operated by the Ellis family. The location? Main Street, of course.

Behind the cash register these days is David and John Ellis, the fourth generation. David and John expanded the size of the store in the 1970s, quadrupling the size. David’s son, Michael Ellis, has also joined the operation, making it a fifth-generation business.

The store isn’t modest about its age — vintage photos decorate its Facebook page and its store. But this is not the kind of hardware store where some inventory turns about once every five years. Ellis Ace Hardware will refill your printer cartridges, and its Radio Shack franchise sells the latest iPhone.

They’re also famous for their caramel apples (with or without nuts), which usually come in around Aug. 31.

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Central California dealer opens second unit

BY Brae Canlen

Davis Ace Hardware, a fixture in the college town of Davis, Calif. for 90 years, will open a second Davis location in a small shopping center called Anderson Plaza. An article in The Davis Enterprise reported that the 3,500-sq.-ft. neighborhood store, called Aggie Ace, will use the co-op’s “Express Store” format to carry core hardware products. A soft opening is expected in mid-August. 

Meanwhile, the original downtown Davis Ace Hardware, now being operated by the third generation of the Anderson family, is remodeling its pet department, which carries fish, reptile and bird supplies as part of its assortment.

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