Obit: James Gee Sr.
James Gee Sr., an early pioneer of the home center concept in the Chicago area, died at his home on March 9, according to an obituary in the Chicago Tribune. He was 93 years old.
Gee and his brothers built a retail lumber and hardware business that included a large home center in the late 1940s. The model drew attention from entrepreneurs and retailers from across the country, including Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, who once called Gee to inquire about his store.
In the late 1950s, Gee and his brothers parted ways and Gee opened Gee Lumber and Hardware. His first branch was in Richton Park. Other stores followed, including locations in Glen Ellyn, Hinsdale, La Grange, Broadview, Plainfield, South Holland and Joliet.
Under competitive pressure from national chains, Gee eventually liquidated his business, closing his last store in the early 1990s.
Glenn brothers open 17th hardware store
According to an article in timesfreepress.com, brothers Tom and Grif Glenn opened an Ace Hardware store in Chickamauga, Ga. last week. The store is the 17th in the chain owned by the brothers.
The Glenn Brothers run the retail company, The Helpful Group, which was founded by their grandfather in 1919, the article reported.
Saint-Gobain closes China DIY stores
Global construction supplier and retailer Saint-Gobain has closed its La Maison building material stores in China, according to a report in Agence France Presse.
La Maison’s 86,000-sq.-ft. flagship store and six design showrooms in Shanghai stopped operating during the week of March 10, a company spokesman told AFP. He blamed recent measures by the Chinese government to cool the housing boom and the change in construction practices, which are building more “finished” properties outfitted with electrical, plumbing and other “pre-decorations.”
China’s attempts to rein in real estate sales over the past year include raising minimum down payments, banning second and third home purchases in some cities and introducing property taxes in Shanghai and Chongqing.
Many retailers are struggling to find their stride in China, including Home Depot, which closed five of its 12 stores there last year, exiting the Beijing market altogether.