A loyal customer base at the Griggs Ace Hardware & Sporting Goods store in north Richland has prompted an expansion into the vacant space next door once occupied by Hastings Books Music & Video.
It’s a neighborhood store.Charlie Grigg, vice president of Pasco-based Grigg Enterprises
“The vision is that sometime this summer we’ll have that store up and going,” said Charlie Grigg, vice president of Pasco-based Grigg Enterprises, which operates three other Ace stores in the Tri-Cities.
The company paid $5.5 million for the building last month.
It made more sense to buy the building instead of leasing, Grigg said, though it was a “paralyzing amount of money” to sign a loan for.
Bank of the West and the Small Business Administration provided the 25-year loan.
The new building will allow the Richland store to double in size to about 40,000 square feet. Approximately 10,000 square feet will be available for lease, as Grigg doesn’t plan to use the entire space for the hardware store.
“Our current store is cram-packed full of merchandise that it’s hard to shop,” he said.
The expansion will allow the store to “merchandise things a little bit better” and expand the sporting goods section, as well as add work wear, including boots.
He said the location at 1415 George Washington Way has been fantastic for the store.
“It has the right traffic, right people, the homes are there. People love having it. It’s a neighborhood store. The same people are shopping there all the time,” Grigg said.
It also provides a convenient place to shop for north Richland residents, he said.
“If you need a few parts to fix your sprinkler, you can get them and you’re out of there,” Grigg said, noting that Ace stores are designed so customers can “get what they want and to get out of there quick,” unlike daunting big box stores with an overwhelming amount of products to choose from.
The city of Richland welcomed the store’s move into the vacant storefront, just north of the Uptown Shopping Center.
“The city of Richland and the community at large are ecstatic and welcoming of the expansion of Ace Hardware. Mr. Grigg is a long-standing member of the Richland and Tri-Cities business community and we welcome his continued business investment in Richland,” said N. Zach Ratkai, economic development manager for the city of Richland.
Grigg Enterprises employs about 150 people between its four Tri-City stores. More staff likely will be hired after the expansion but Grigg isn’t sure how many yet.
The George Washington Way store opened in 2004 and it was one of the most successful openings in Ace Hardware history, as opening sales broke all records in the company, Grigg said. “The Keene Road store did the same thing when it opened,” he said.
The business boasts four generations of family working at the store. Grigg’s dad, who is 78, “is still here every day,” though on his own schedule, he chuckled.
Charlie Grigg’s son CJ and his wife Katrina, and his daughter Nicki also work at the store, which makes it fun, he said.
Hastings and Ace Hardware agreed to split the building after Food Pavilion shuttered its doors. The two stores built a wall to separate the space and rewired the building so they could each pay their own electric bills. Grigg said rewiring is required again with the expansion and another wall is going up on the other side of the old Hastings building.
Hastings closed in the fall after operating for 11 years. The parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Ace’s plans also include removing Hastings’ carpet and putting down tile, painting the walls and moving fixtures. The new wall will go up on the north end of the building, traveling from the front of the store to the back on the side where Hastings’ Hard Back Café operated.
West Richland-based MP Construction is the general contractor.
Regular Ace customers shouldn’t notice the construction next door until it’s time to tear down the wall between the two stores later this summer, Grigg said.
“We’re not disturbing the old store at all until we’re ready,” he said.