After rising property taxes and traffic congestion forced longtime Seattle hardware store Hardwick & Sons to announce its closure after more than 81 years of business, owner Dean Hardwick chose to build a new location.
Plans are now progressing for a development in Post Falls, following approval in July by city officials to annex two parcels of land at 3820 and 3850 E. Mullan Ave. to make way for a Hartwick retail store, warehouse and wood shop.
“Hopefully, a lot of people in the trades will appreciate us, and your average folks, too,” said Hardwick, adding the new location won’t be a conventional hardware store that sells paint or an abundance of electrical supplies. “It will be very interesting for people and it will be different. It won’t be like ACE or True Value ” hardware stores.
Hardwick & Sons – which carries specialty tools like Japanese pruning saws and unique, hard-to-find items – was founded in 1932 by Charles Hardwick, Dean’s grandfather. The store moved to 4214 Roosevelt Way N.E. in Seattle’s U-District in 1938. Dean and his brother, Bill, assumed ownership of the store in 1976 and ran it together until Bill died in 2017.
Hardwick said property taxes have been accelerating more than 25% annually on the fourth-generation, family-owned business and that prompted him to sell the Seattle building in a 1031 Exchange, which is essentially a swap of one property for another while deferring capital gains tax on the sale.
Bellevue-based 4214 Roosevelt Way LLC purchased the property in April for $17.2 million, according to King County assessor’s records. Harwick is continuing to operate the Seattle store until construction begins for a proposed 22-story high-rise on the site.
Hardwick said proceeds from the sale will go toward building a more than 9,000-square-foot, built-to-suit hardware store, a 7,000-square-foot warehouse and a 3,200-square-foot wood shop in Post Falls.
Mark Latham, founder and president of Post Falls-based ML Architect & Associates Inc., is designing the project.
Hardwick said another reason behind the move to Post Falls is proximity to family. His wife grew up in Spokane Valley and his father-in-law is a business owner in Coeur d’Alene.
“My wife and I are going to be closing on a home in Coeur d’Alene at the end of the month,” Hardwick said last week. “She will enjoy coming back to where she grew up.”
Hardwick plans to work part time alongside his son, Paul, who will operate the Post Falls store.
The next step in the development process is to submit building permits, Hardwick said.
Construction could be underway in October and complete by July, he added.
Post Falls Community Development Director Bob Seale said Hardwick & Sons will likely be well-received by the community.
“The location will be great and is easily accessible by the surrounding communities as well,” he said. “It’s another great small business to be added to our community to increase options available here and serve the citizens of Post Falls as well as the greater Kootenai County area.”
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