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Throwback Thursday: Handy Andy’s makeover

In 1995, a late move toward standardization for the Illinois-based home center chain.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The Jan. 23, 1995 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, reported on the store design plans for Schaumburg, Ill.-based Handy Andy Home Improvement Centers. The headline reads: “Handy Andy offers new recipe for success.”

President Jean Pitz predicted dramatic profitability increases with the new prototypes. After growing through acquisition and evolving with different store formats and sizes, all 73 stores were to receive a makeover over a two year period — 15 in year one.

From the 1995 issue.

The 1995 article reported: “The most radical move in the reformatting calls for shrinking the size of the stores to a standard 50,000 square-foot “footprint,” and leasing out the remaining space in the store.”

Emphasizing the light-to-oderate DIYer, the company introduced a new operating philosophy: “Easy IFGO,” meaning easy-in, easy-find, easy-get, easy-out.

Also, the protoype’s merchandise focus shifted to hardware, paint, seasonals and lawn and garden products. Lumber and building materials were trimmed.

Alas, the headline (as well as the retail initiative) was overly optimistic. Handy Andy would declare bankruptcy later that year, and in 1996 it would close down for good.

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