Hardware House in Saltillo looks to future

SALTILLO – The Hardware House at the Center City Market was closed for a couple of days this week, but store owner John McCallum said it was a temporary move that he hopes doesn’t become long-term.
McCallum, who reopened the store on Friday and will be open today, said the move was necessary because of slow sales and the uncertainty surrounding the future of Birmingham, Ala.,-based Hardware House and its parent company, Moore-Handley.
Moore-Handley filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July, saying it had nearly $19 million in debt that it was unable to pay. Most of the debt, according to the Birmingham Business Journal, was owed to lender CIT.
Moore-Handley is the second-largest independent hardware distributor in the U.S., and most of its customers are independent hardware and building supply stores.
McCallum’s store, like many others in the Moore-Handley/Hardware House distribution chain, were caught off-guard by the move.
“We’re kind of in limbo until everybody figures out what’s going on,” McCallum said.
But McCallum and others supplied by Moore-Handley may get good news soon. Last week, the company announced that it had signed an asset purchase agreement with Toledo, Ohio-based Bostwick-Braun Co.
The deal, which was first announced about a week after the bankruptcy filing, must get approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court fo the Northern District of Alabama. If the court gives its OK, Bostwick Braun has said it would continue to market Moore-Handley products.
A Moore-Handley spokewoman did not return a call for comment.
Meanwhile, McCallum, who opened his Hardware House store earlier this year, said he was weighing all his options.
“We’re trying to do the right thing because we want to keep this store open,” he said. “We’re just waiting to see what develops.”

Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal