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Hardware store to open in Ridgeway
12 jobs to be created
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Charles Overstreet (above), vice president of Northwest True Value Hardware’s branch stores, announces Thursday that the company will invest $1.5 million to build a new retail store in Henry County and create the equivalent of 12 full-time jobs. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
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Friday, June 29, 2012

By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer

Company officials of Northwest True Value Hardware announced Thursday they will invest $1.5 million to build a new retail store in Henry County and create the equivalent of 12 full-time jobs.

The local store will be the largest of the six retail stores that are part of the family-owned, Roanoke-based business, according to Charles Overstreet, vice president of the company’s branch stores.

The company will build a 20,000-square-foot building for the new store at the intersection of Main Street and U.S. 220 near Ridgeway, Overstreet said.

The store is expected to open in early 2013, possibly around Feb. 1, he said. Overstreet described the hardware company as a “small company, with 95 people” combined in its current locations.

The Ridgeway store will not offer building supplies such as lumber, he said. Instead, it will be more of a traditional hardware store that will carry a large inventory of unique items.

For instance, Overstreet said, the Lodge Cast Iron brand of cookware is American-made. “We carry virtually everything Lodge makes,” he said.

The company serves homeowners and contractors and offers products in seven major categories: paint, plumbing, lawn and garden, hardware, housewares, tools and electrical, according to a news release.

The local store will sell brands such as Benjamin Moore paints, Stihl Power tools, Weber Grills and others, the release said.

Although Overstreet did not provide information about hourly wages, he said the pay is above minimum wage. The jobs are expected to be advertised in November, he said.

Homeowners will be sought as employees because “hardware stores and homeowners get along,” Overstreet said. He noted that an “attitude of helpfulness” also will be required.

There is little turnover of full-time employees, he said.

The majority of the 12 full-time-equivalent positions will be filled by local workers, Overstreet said, and a benefit package will be available to full-time employees.

Jason Yopp, who has been with the hardware company for 14 years, said he will move to the area to manage the new store.

Employees will complete a training program locally, he said.

Company President Walter Vance said Northwest has spent the last three months working on the design of the new building, and bids are being sought by July 10.

They will be opened and a contractor will be selected within 10 days. The winning bidder then will have 10 days to start construction and 120 days to complete it, Vance said.

He added that the store will have “a pretty extensive lawn and garden” department. “Our main business is the homeowner,” he said.

Vance said the company considered other sites before deciding to locate in Henry County.

That decision, he said, was predicated in part on the results of a True Value site study, which gave the site in Ridgeway “by far the highest rating” of any of the sites under consideration.

He declined to identify the other sites considered, aside from saying they were in other counties.

The family atmosphere and homey feeling also helped sway the company to locate here, Vance said.

“This is great. These stores are really good stores,” said Del. Don Merricks, R-Pittsylvania County, who attended Thursday’s announcement.

“Economic development comes in different sizes, shapes and places,” said Jim Adams, chairman of the Henry County Board of Supervisors. “Traditionally, public sector entities concentrate on large business and industrial development, while retail development has been primarily left to the private sector.”

But, Adams said, Henry County and the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. work “on everything that comes up because we know we need to. When it comes to economic development, no one stays in their lane — we work the project, and today’s event is an example of that.”

Debra Buchanan, Horsepasture District supervisor, has long sought more retail development locally.

“I am glad that retail businesses have the confidence in Martinsville and Henry County and that the EDC was able to work with them to bring new jobs,” she said Thursday.

The venture “will be great for our tax base, it will employ people and retail is very important to economic growth,” Buchanan said. “I’m sure the EDC is working hard to bring more retail business to this area, and I look forward to” more retail announcements in the future.

No local or state funds will go toward the project, officials said.


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