Owner disputes impact of big-box competition
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!"
Connecticut store to close
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.”
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.