No place like home for True Value
True Value Hardware manager Tom Maher thinks he knows the perfect location for the Glenwood Springs store: right where it is.Unfortunately, staying put isn’t an option for True Value after Roaring Fork Re-1 School District voters approved an $86 million bond issue in November’s election. One project to be funded by the measure is a new, bigger Glenwood Springs High School that the district says will require expansion onto the property that’s home to True Value.The plan also will result in the ouster of the Defiance Thrift Store and the Glenwood Gymnastics Academy, along with a few residential rental units. True Value has been working with real estate agents but making little progress in its search for a new location.”So far they haven’t come up with anything, but we’re continuing to look,” Maher said.The problem is there are few sizable locations available in Glenwood Springs, and some of those that are available are priced well beyond what True Value can afford to remain profitable, Maher said.He said store officials have been considering other nearby communities but believe Glenwood Springs is the only place big enough in the area to support an operation of the store’s size.The city’s retail scene promises to get a lot more crowded when Glenwood Meadows opens. But Maher never felt that the eventual opening of big-box stores there threatened the future of True Value. He said he expected Glenwood Meadows to have a short-term impact, but he believes shoppers will want alternatives to the new commercial development as well.”I think we have a future if we just find a new location,” Maher said.Nationwide, retailers typically suffer at first but survive by adapting to the arrival of big-box developments, he said.”After people’s curiosity is satisfied they start gradually coming back.”The store is probably in the top 10 percent among True Value stores in Colorado in sales, Maher said.The Glenwood Springs store has been at the same location since its opening 18 years ago. It is owned by Dennis Swanson, a Steamboat Springs resident who also owns another hardware store, Maher said.True Value is a buying cooperative, Maher said. The store owners are individual shareholders in a corporation, rather than the corporation owning the stores.One advantage of this arrangement is that merchandise can be better tailored to an individual market, he said. Maher considers the Glenwood Springs store a variety store, not just a hardware store.Employment at the store varies but generally runs between 25 and 30 people. About two-third of those jobs are full-time, with benefits.Safeway owns the True Value building. Re-1 Superintendent Fred Wall said the underlying property is separately owned by a business land trust in Florida.Maher said True Value officials have considered buying land and building a store, but don’t know of a good, high-traffic location for doing so. Glenwood Meadows is a possibility, he said, but he’s worried that the costs there might be too high.True Value has about seven years left on a 25-year lease and hasn’t received notification from its property manager that the lease will be canceled, Maher said.True Value has about seven years left on a 25-year lease and hasn’t received notification from its property manager that the lease will be canceled, Maher said.
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