Along Loudon Road, Harbor Freight Tools will open as Jos. A. Banks shuts

  • New store at 310 Loudon Road, Concord, opens Aug. 15. Harbor Freight Tools—Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 8/4/2020 1:17:55 PM

Harbor Freight Tools will soon move into a former Toys R Us building near Steeplegate Mall this month, part of a company expansion that is taking advantage of do-it-yourself and home-improvement work during the pandemic.

The announcement comes even as another stand-alone store in the area is shutting. The Jos. A. Banks at 240 Loudon Road, on the west side of Steeplegate Mall, will shut Aug. 8.

It is one of hundreds of stores that will be shut nationwide by Tailored Brands, which owns Jos. A. Banks and Men’s Wearhouse, after that firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sunday. Companies selling business wear and men’s suit have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has relegated millions of Americans to work from home.

On the other hand, hardware and home-improvement stores like Harbor Freight Tools were designated essential businesses when COVID-19 hit and that industry has seen booming sales as people under stay-at-home orders took up projects.

“We were asked to stay open even in communities where stay-at-home orders were in effect – even in a pandemic, or especially in a pandemic, repairs still need to be made and vehicles maintained,” Craig Hoffman, director of corporate communications for the California-based firm, wrote in an email response to questions from the Monitor.

The discount tool and equipment retailer opened in 1977 and now has more than 1,000 stores. This will be its eighth in New Hampshire.

“Our interest in being part of the Concord community predates the current COVID-19 pandemic for quite a while,” wrote Hoffman.

The Toys R Us store at 310 Loudon Road, next to Steeplegate Mall, shut in March 2018 as the company went bankrupt, burdened by massive debt after being purchased by a hedge fund and battered by the shift to online sales. The building has been empty since.

Wearing masks is required for all customers and employees in all Harbor Freight Tools stores, Hoffman wrote. “We continue to monitor the recommendations of the CDC and act accordingly.”

The 16,000-square-foot store is set to open Aug. 15 and will be open seven days a week. It will stock tools and accessories in categories including automotive, air and power tools, storage, outdoor power equipment, generators, welding supplies, shop equipment, and hand tools.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or dbrooks@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)

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