A century on Main Street

Hardware store leaving historic location



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Dave Upton is moving Town & Country Hardware in Independence from Main Street, its home for the past 100 years, to spacious new quarters on Monmouth Street.

INDEPENDENCE -- Even after more than 100 years in one spot, there comes a time to move on.

Town & Country True Value Hardware in Independence perhaps has reached that point.

Town & Country has been at 301 S. Main St. since the late 1800s. The business is moving to 1555 Monmouth Ave., the former site of the Myers Body Shop.

Owner Dave Upton hopes to have most of the move complete by Friday, Aug. 27, and the grand opening is scheduled for the following day.

"I don't want people to get the impression we're trying to abandon our customer base, especially in the downtown quarter," Upton said.

"We have a lot of good customers who have gotten used to being able to just walk to the hardware store. They probably won't be able to do that anymore, and we regret that.

"But this is an economic move not only for us but also the town. We'll be able to serve both Monmouth and Independence better. I've had a lot of customers admit than when they're in Monmouth and need something, they don't come over here. It's too far away. With a more central location, we'll be able to see more of their business."

The location will be easier to get to for some. But all will find more once they get to Town & Country's new location.

Upton said the new location will have about 8,000 square feet of space, compared to about 4,800 square feet for the Main Street site.

And because of a more efficient layout, the new location will have 1,500 linear feet of shelf space. That's an increase of about 1,000 linear square feet over the original site.

"We're expanding pretty much in all departments," Upton said. "It's not so much opening new departments as expanding all the basics, plumbing, electrical, gardening. We're definitely expanding a lot in housewares and cleaning supplies."

The new Town & Country will have a "platinum" level paint and tool department, which Upton describes as, "something True Value rates as the highest level of service for the customer, variety and depth of stock in all areas."

A three-sided pole building as going up behind the main building and will house lumber supplies. The old building had only a small area in the basement for lumber.

Yet another plus to the new location is increased parking. Parking downtown is limited, but Town & Country will have about 30 parking spaces of its own after the move is complete.

Upton said he is figuring on a 40 percent increase in business at the new location.

"Right now, we're in the process of putting in new merchandise," Upton said.

"The only stuff in the new place is new merchandise. I'll come across something and think, 'Wow. I've had many customers ask for this item. It's exciting to think we're actually going to have the stuff there for them now.

"I think it will be a big boost for the local economy. My main reason is to give customers a reason to stay in the area instead of driving to Salem. I don't know how many late hours there are going to be, but we are on track to get it done on time."

Upton also plans to open a Valvoline mini-lube in a smaller building that's adjacent to Town & Country.

Second Chance Books, meanwhile, will move into a portion of Town & Country's old downtown location. There will still be space for one additional business at the former site.



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