Orchard Supply continues rollout of new format
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.
Cash mob finds new store owner
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.
Life of an independent honored in Chicago
Stanley Kustra was a beloved figure in the Windy City’s Puerto Rican community and a strong hardware store competitor who survived the big-box expansion.
According to an article on WBEX.org, Kustra’s life and career at Joe’s Hardware were recognized by an honorary street sign and a celebration last month. Kustra died in March at the age of 55.
Kustra, whose ancestry was Polish, adapted to the changing demographics of the Humboldt Park neighborhood, learning to speak Puerto Rican and contributing to numerous local events.