Now Or Never

Social media plea saves neighbourhood hardware store... for now

It's the opposite of a big box store. Pollock's Hardware Co-op is located in a dense Winnipeg neighbourhood and fronts onto a busy street. There is no giant parking lot. At this small neighbourhood store, locals come in to buy a can of paint, pick up items for electrical projects or pick up a new faucet. But there haven't been enough shoppers lately.
Pollock's Hardware Co-op has faced financial challenges, especially at the South Osborne location in Winnipeg. (Instagram)
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It's the opposite of a big box store. 

Pollock's Hardware Co-op is located in a dense Winnipeg neighbourhood and fronts onto a busy street. There is no giant parking lot. 

At this small neighbourhood store, locals come in to buy a can of paint, pick up items for electrical projects or pick up a new faucet. But there haven't been enough shoppers lately.  

This message was sent out to the store's membership list. (Facebook)
Faced with a potential closure of the store second location, general manager Mike Wolchock took a drastic step and sent out a very honest email to the co-op's members.

Response was immediate. 

Lindsay Waedt is the site manager at the South Osborne location. She said people were disappointed to learn the store might be closing so they flooded the place.
Pollock's South Osborne location is about 700 square feet packed with 4,200 items. (Facebook)

"There was a lot of people admitting shame for the role they've played in our struggles. They came in and admitted that they lived in the neighbourhood and they supported the store opening up ... but then they didn't come and shop. Now they heard what was happening and they're really embarrassed that they hadn't been getting their garbage bags here and they hadn't been picking up boxes of screws."

Wolchuk said the strategy definitely paid off.  
In addition to memberships and products, Pollock's sells T-shirts as another income stream. (Facebook)

"In the end I think we did $14,500 for the month, which was the second best month ever in the store. And this store actually made $2400 in March," Wolchock said. "So we were able to wipe out the deficit we were having in March, wipe out February's deficit and almost clean up January's. People probably spent money they didn't have because they wanted to make sure that we got to where we needed to be."

Wolchuk said the board decided to renew the lease for the South Osborne location, but there's a stipulation. If the store loses money for three consecutive months, it's done. 

"I think every community needs a little hardware store and if this place closes there's no more expansion for Pollock's," he said. "I think for me personally, my job is on the line. And this is the first time in my career at Pollock's that I've felt that my situation could come to an end."