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Glover Park Hardware Store Set to Reopen Soon

By Mark LiebermanCurrent Correspondent

Glover Park Hardware is scheduled to reopen in its new location at 2233 Wisconsin Ave. NW in mid-September, more than eight months after the store’s lease expired at its old location a block away.

Rite Aid is building a new store at the old Glover Park Hardware location, according to the drugstore’s spokesperson Kristin Kellum.

The hardware store closed at that 2251 Wisconsin spot in January after its landlord sought a large rent increase. After scouting several options in the neighborhood, owner Gina Schaefer opted for a nearby site down Wisconsin, right next to Breadsoda.

Schaefer signed the lease for the new location in February, but the opening has been on hold ever since. The missing link is a freight elevator needed to transport goods from a ground-floor loading dock down into the hardware shop, which is located below street level. Schaefer said scheduling the elevator’s construction has taken much longer than expected, and the work itself is expected to take several weeks once it does begin.

Glover Park Hardware’s new space is smaller in square footage than the old store, but Schaefer said the store benefits from a friendlier relationship with the landlord, cheaper operating costs, and a nicer appearance than the unrenovated old space.

Schaefer, who owns 10 Ace Hardware locations in the D.C./Baltimore area, guessed that her former Glover Park space will likely be a better fit for Rite Aid and the landlords than her store was.

“The landlords in our old space did not want to negotiate with us. They wanted us to leave,” she said. “They wanted a tenant that would pay a lot more money than the market is technically getting right now.”

Nonetheless, Schaefer said she’s heard from many regular customers that they consider Rite Aid to be a less productive use of that space. “People were upset that we were closing,” she said. “They were frustrated that there was a Rite Aid going into the space where there could be a hardware store.”

The loss of the original location hit the community hard, according to Glover Park advisory neighborhood commissioner Brian Turmail, who said he often visited the store on Saturdays for his home improvement efforts.

“When the store shut down, it was heartbreaking,” Turmail said. “It’s the kind of store that really filled a void in the retail mix of the neighborhood.”

The staff members from the original Glover Park store were offered transfers to six other Ace Hardware locations in the D.C. area (the company also has three stores in Baltimore, as well as one set to open in Adams Morgan). Aside from five or six employees who chose to move on to other companies, all of the former Glover employees still work for Ace, Schaefer said, and some will return to work at the new location.

The shutdown of Glover Park Hardware was a significant blow to the company’s finances, Schaefer said, especially since that location was among the company’s three highest-grossing stores. On the other hand, Schaefer said the Tenleytown Ace Hardware has experienced a boost in business that she attributes partially to Glover Park customers.

Schaefer said she’s eager to restore business to Glover Park. “The team is really looking forward to get back into their own store in Glover Park and seeing their customers,” she said.

This article appears in the Aug. 5 issue of The Georgetown Current newspaper.