For sale: hardware store, locally owned.
“I’m trying to pull a needle out of the wood stack — a local buyer is going to be best suited for this,” said Jeff Strong, who is looking for a new owner for Amboy’s North County Hardware.
Strong has owned the store since 1999, but due to health challenges and other demands he needs to pass the business to a worthy heir.
“I’ve just got too much on my plate, and with issues I’m dealing with I’ve got to let something go,” he said by phone last week.
Strong, a 30-year north county resident, Green Mountain school board member and owner of Nick’s Bar & Grill, said it’s been a good ride running the business at 40600 N.E. 221st Ave.
“I was fortunate enough to acquire the hardware store and the bar and work here in Amboy and make a living here in what we call Mayberry,” Strong said. “I raised two boys who I thought would be interested in it, but they weren’t and it kind of left me in a quandary.”
The 52-year-old is just getting started advertising North County Hardware for sale, and says the store has a “growing customer base between 7,000 and 8,000.” The next nearest hardware store is at least 15 miles away, in Woodland or Battle Ground.
“Someone local in this small community is going to be best suited for it,” he said. “At least we’ll let ’em know what’s going on and see how big their shoes are.”
It won’t be the first time the store has changed hands, as it has been in operation since 1949. Previous owners include Dolores and Gerald Wolk, according to Columbian archives.
Strong said he’s grown his selection and services over the years to meet his customers’ demands. Everything from paint, plumbing and electrical supplies to lumber, chain saws, bark dust and utility vehicles and more is for sale.
“I learn what they need and specialize in the things they forgot to get in town,” he said. “Fortunately, they forget a lot of things.”
The 6,500-square-foot store is in the same complex as a barbershop and a massage business. Strong proposes a lease-back agreement with the store’s next owner that would leave Strong as the landlord. He didn’t disclose an asking price for North County Hardware, though he said he’d like to line up a buyer by fall.