Manitoba

Pollock's Hardware Co-op closing in South Osborne

Nearly a year after customers flooded Pollock's Hardware Co-op on south Osborne Street to save it from closing, the business is struggling once again and has reached a "difficult decision."

Store's final day will be March 31 but flagship store on north Main Street will remain open

The small size of the Pollock's Hardware store in South Osborne limited the amount of stock it could carry, said the chair of the co-op board. (Google Street View)

Nearly a year after customers flooded Pollock's Hardware Co-op on south Osborne Street to save it from closing, the business is struggling once again and has reached a "difficult decision."

In a message to its membership, the co-op board announced it will shut down the location at the corner of Osborne Street and Morley Avenue at the end of the month.

"Despite an encouraging surge in member and community support earlier this year, we were unable to sustain this through the rest of the year," the notice stated.

"Unfortunately, we do not feel the co-op can sustain further losses in an attempt to solve the financial challenges this location faced. Please know that this was a difficult decision to make and not one that was taken lightly."

The co-op's flagship store at 1407 Main St., which has existed since 1922, will remain open. The one in South Osborne, which opened about 4½ years ago, just wasn't able to find its footing there, said Blair Hamilton, chair of the co-op's board of directors.

"It's disappointing. We got some good support from the community and we're appreciative of that … but it is business, so we have to kind of take those decisions," he said.

"We always felt like we were close to making a breakthrough but, at the end of the day, the numbers tell the tale and we just weren't able to carry forward."

'Tough grind'

Retail in general is "always a tough grind" and perhaps the store's small size — 700 square feet — constrained the co-op's ability in some ways, he said, adding it certainly meant that its stock was limited.

"You have to be able to move a certain amount of product at a certain margin and you have to be able to carry a certain amount of inventory. It was the business fundamentals in that particular location that just, we weren't able to work out."

Hamilton also said online competition has made it a challenge for any brick-and-mortar business to compete.

"It is a fact that someone can sit online and punch a few buttons and get the commodity that they need delivered to their door. You really have to make a strong case for them to venture outside and come down and visit you," he said.

"Toys 'R' Us is closing 800 stores this week. We're closing one, so we're not doing as bad, I guess."

The store's final day of business will be March 31.

"We're going to have some great deals to move out some inventory in the meantime, so we hope people come down and pick up some things that they need," Hamilton said.

"And we're hoping some of our friends come and say goodbye — and hopefully then visit us at the north Main store."

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