Stratford residents wanting a proper hardware store to come back to their town won't have to wait much longer.
The Kinlock Home Hardware, located next to Murphy's Pharmacy on Kinlock Road, is expected to open in the fall. The goal is a November opening, said Duane MacDonald, general manager of Callbecks Ltd. in Summerside.
"Stratford is the fastest growing area on P.E.I., and they have pretty well everything there, except for a hardware store. You have to go across the (Hillsborough) bridge to get to a hardware store," said MacDonald on Thursday. "So we feel, and we've been hearing from our customers, that there is a demand to have something local."
The new hardware store is owned in partnership by Callbecks and the Smith family, who owns Metro Building Supplies Ltd. (and the Metro Home Building Centre) in Charlottetown. Both Callbecks and Metro have long histories owning hardware stores on P.E.I.
Metro was founded in 1969 by Donald Smith. The first Metro Building Supplies store also opened that year in what is now the Sherwood Business Centre on St. Peters Road in Charlottetown. That store space is now occupied by Razzy's Road House restaurant.
Callbecks dates back much further with founder William Callbeck opening a tailor shop and general store in Central Bedeque in 1899. In 2007, 2007, Ron and Donna MacDonald acquired the Callbecks Home Hardware business.
The new Kinlock store will be located in the Kinlock Crossing building, the same, now redeveloped space that was once the home of Stratford Home Hardware. On Nov. 18, 2015, at around 3 p.m., Stratford Home Hardware, which was corporately run at the time, caught many people, including employees, by surprise when it suddenly, and permanently, closed its doors.
Nearly five years later, work is underway in the 12,000 square-foot retail space to have it ready for opening. The store will create 12-15 jobs.
"We're going to be hiring for that very shortly," said MacDonald.
In February, the sides also partnered to acquire the Charlottetown Home Hardware store franchise. Including the two partnerships, Callbecks now has five stores on P.E.I. and Metro has four.
MacDonald said the process to open a Stratford location also began in February. Even with COVID-19 impacting businesses the following month, the partners knew there was a demand for the new store in Stratford, and kept pursuing the idea; although they would have liked to have had it opened sooner, said MacDonald. "When we open it up again, it'll be 100 per cent, Island, locally owned."