Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: Big store near Boston

BY HBSDealer Staff

The Dec. 28, 1987 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, featured the story “P.F. O’Connor debuts largest ever U.S. warehouse in Mass.”

The story describes how, under the leadership of Patrick O’Connor, the P.F. O’Connor team tore down a distribution center and built a 300,000 sq. ft. retail store as part of a facility with six acres of product including heavy millwork and building materials, 10 checkouts.

A National Home Center News reporter was on the scene, describing the main power aisle as “wide as a two-lane highway.”

She also reported:  “The cavernous store has a number of strengths in kitchen and bath and millwork. But it is currently hampered by poor lighting which, together with the original black warehouse racking, detracts from the original displays.”

And she also reported: “Park benches can also be found in these aisles. The benches were added in response to comments from Isabella O’Connor, the president’s mother, after she had a long walk through the store. “

An out: “The question remains whether this store can generate enough traffic to support its size and hold its own against its major Boston competitors.”

An online search of P.F. O’Connor revealed no evidence of the store as a going concern.

P.F. O’Connor is not to be confused with, J.P. O’Connor, a successful True Value hardware store in Billerica, Mass.

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Do you remember P.F. O’Connor’s record breaking store? Let us know here.

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Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: Hechinger in Virginia

BY HBSDealer Staff

The Oct. 13, 1980 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, covered the opening of a Hechinger home improvement store in Richmond, Va. The new store measured 60,000 sq. ft., with a 20,000-sq. ft. garden center and marked the 27th in the Hechinger fleet.

At the board-cutting ceremony were some heavy hitters. In the photo above are John Hechinger, president of the Landover, Md.-based home center; Charles Robb, Virginia’s lieutenant governor; and Richard England, chairman of Hechinger. John Hechinger was the son of company founder Sidney Hechinger, and England was Sidney’s son in law.

Robb, who in the photo appears comfortable performing store-opening duties as lieutenant governor, apparently desired more from his political career. And he got it. The ambitious politician rose to national prominence – first as governor of Virginia from 1982 to 1986, and then as United States Senator from 1989 to 2001.

Hechinger, after a long and innovative run in the home improvement industry that began in 1919, would declare bankruptcy and close for good in 1999.

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