Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: A Grossman’s prototype

Back in 1988, Grossman’s hit the Massachusetts suburbs with this store.

BY HBSDealer Staff

In the early 1980s, a Grossman’s home center could be instantly recognized by its vertical orange and white stripes. That changed in 1988, with the unveiling of this prototype home center 40 miles south of Boston in Hanover, Mass.

It was the first new facility to open under the Grossman banner since it emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November of 1986.

The Jan. 11, 1988 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, reported: “ … the chain’s new 34,000-sq. ft. prototype … has a brick exterior that could blend in with any suburban shopping center. That feeling is carried on inside where a high-tech design focuses on upscale merchandise and project selling.”

The design marked a big new direction, but the store held true to its lumber yard roots, as a drive-thru lumber yard adjoined the store.

Also interesting: the store featured a new training program called “How-To Partners.” Under the program, employees studied six different product courses. When they graduated, they wore an appropriate merit bade on their sleeves.

Looking back, it would have been hard to predict that this company would close the last 60 of its Grossman’s stores in 1996.


On the same page as the Grossman’s story, a photo of James Falcone, president of Rocky’s Home Centers in Springfield, Mass., accompanies an article about the health of New England independents following the Black Monday stock market crash of Oct. 19, 1987.

“Much to my surprise we’ve had a notable improvement in sales since the stock market crash,” said Falcone. “We don’t know if it’s just a good Christmas season, but I haven’t had a week less than 20% above last year.”

Rocky’s continues to flourish in New England. In 2013, the company received a Golden Hammer award for Retailer of the Year.

HBSDealer’s Throwback Thursday is sponsored by Schaffer Associates, a national management consulting firm specializing in executive search and organizational strategies for the hardware, home improvement, building materials, and consumer products industries. As the premier management consulting firm serving the industry, we help build organizations and leadership teams that foster corporate growth and success well into the future. Contact


Leave a Reply

kclark says:
Apr-25-2019 01:50 pm

The article has been edited to include the correct year -- 1988 -- in the sub-headline.

B.Hunter says:
Apr-25-2019 11:41 am

Sub-title line should read “Back in 1988” not 1998 in this article. Grossman’s was ahead of it’s time with this concept, just wish like so many lumberyards of the time that they did not retreat in the face of Home Depot. Was a great company to work for.



What's the relationship between growth in housing starts and growth in your company's sales?
  • Add your answer