Carson City True Value to close |

Carson City True Value to close

John Barrette

Gordon Johnston, owner of the True Value Hardware store on U.S. Highway 50 East in Carson City, plans to close his store in late August.

Johnston said Wednesday there are a host of reasons, among them he’s 73 and some various circumstances make running the store a hassle despite his view it could still could make money for someone. He said he tried to sell the store through True Value, though he didn’t put it on the general market, but no buyer could be found. He said older people with financial resources weren’t found and younger folks don’t have the money required.

“We’re at the point where it’s not worth the hassle,” he said. He declined, however, to view competition from big box outlets or failure to renegotiate a lease as significant factors among reasons to close.

“It isn’t the competition,” he said, though he acknowledged some people seeking hardware have the perception those big box stores are cheaper. He said that isn’t always accurate, nor can any outlet be less expensive on all items all the time.

“No matter where you go, there’s competition,” he said, adding “you still can make money” as an entrepreneur if you know what to do. Johnston and his family has had the store 16 years. He said the True Value outlet, formerly a Coast-to-Coast store, has been there 45 years. He also said his family has a True Value outlet run by his son in Yerington, which is going to be owned outright by his son soon.

As for the lease in Carson City, he didn’t blame the landlord, added rent often is a cost of doing business and said the negotiating parties involved just couldn’t reach agreement.

Shoplifting and surliness from occasional customers were cited, though he said many of his customers have been great people. He said something happened in the past five years, in his view, that changed things in retailing.

“I blame a lot of it on the recession,” he said, noting such things as taxes going up while pensions dwindled and the like. He didn’t mention low wage growth, but did focus on the rudeness of some clientele along with shoplifting losses. “It’s too bad,” he said. “We’re here to help. We’re here to make a profit, too, but we’re here to help you.”

He also said it didn’t help when Scolari’s exited the part of the shopping center in which True Value is located, leaving people with the impression that part of the center was less lively and even without traffic.

Johnston indicated he and his family have done well during their years with True Value in Carson City, but without a buyer turning up the store is going to close the last week of August. The lease is up on the outlet at 2290 U.S. Highway 50 East, he said, as of Sept. 1 and he must be out before then.