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It's been five years, but Stratford residents finally have a Home Hardware store back in the community.
“It’s been pretty steady traffic here all day. We’re pretty happy with the support the community has given us so far,” said Duane MacDonald, general manager of Callbecks Ltd. in Summerside.
On Wednesday, the Kinlock Home Hardware store officially opened its doors to customers. The store is a partnership between Callbecks and Metro Home Building Supplies Ltd.
MacDonald noted that Stratford is one of the fastest-growing communities on P.E.I., so bringing back a Home Hardware store in the town made sense. The new store also saves residents the inconvenience of driving across the Hillsborough Bridge for their hardware needs.
Although it wasn't planned, the opening date of Wednesday, Nov. 18, is five years to the day that the previous Stratford Home Hardware unexpectedly closed on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015.
The 11,000 square-foot store is located at 14 Kinlock Rd. in also in the same spot as the previous Stratford Home Hardware, but in a newly-renovated building that is also home to tenants such as Murphy's (Kinlock) Pharmacy.
“We’ve been getting lots of great vibes and lots of great remarks here from people,” said Metro’s Peter Smith, who co-owns the Kinlock store with his brother, Andy, and the MacDonalds. “They’ve been waiting for this for quite some time.”
Smith said customers had been showing up on Monday and Tuesday to see if the store was opened. He added that the store’s 25 employees are mostly Stratford and area residents.
It has all the items a customer would expect to see in a hardware store. But Smith is proud of the store's large display areas, such as the bath and lighting showroom. Another unique aspect of the store is that customers can order building supplies, including lumber, windows, doors, and shingles, from the Stratford store and have them delivered from the Metro Home Building Centre in Charlottetown.
Donald Smith, Peter and Andy’s father opened the first Metro Building Supplies store in 1969 in the Sherwood Business Centre on St. Peters Road in Charlottetown. About five years ago, they started operating under the Home Hardware brand with the Metro Home Building Centre and Metro Bath and Lighting.
Callbecks Home Hardware Building Centre and Home Furniture Centre are owned by Ron and Donna MacDonald.
In February, Metro and Callbecks partnered to buy the Charlottetown Home Hardware store. Shortly after, the sides entered into a lease agreement to open the Stratford store, and strategically, give them a presence on both sides of the Hillsborough Bridge.
“It was a great fit, and brought a lot of knowledge and experience together,” said Smith. “It’s been working out great.”
Terrence McEachern is The Guardian's business reporter.