The 100-year-old local hardware chain will retain its name, employees, and independence when the sale closes February 17th.
Local hardware chain Pleasants Hardware announced this morning that the century-old company has been sold to Virginia Beach-based Taylor’s Do It Centers, Inc. The retailer acquired the seven Richmond Pleasants stores from C.F. Sauer Company, which has owned the chain since 1989. The deal will close February 17th.
Pleasants’ eighth store, its flagship location at 2024 West Broad Street that has been slated to close, was not included in the sale. Terms were not publicly disclosed. Despite the change of hands, it’s largely business as usual.
“We don’t want to change things,” Taylor’s Do It Centers CEO Joe Taylor said at a press conference Tuesday morning at Pleasants’ Patterson Avenue store in the Far West End, noting that the Pleasants name will remain following the sale. “The stores will remain Pleasants Hardware. The changes you see will be small.”
Those changes include a shift away from Pleasants’ affiliation with Ace Hardware to the Do It Best brand, a wholesale co-op with 3,800 hardware store affiliates across 53 countries. Taylor says the company’s buying power will allow for lower prices and a wider selection of products under the Do It Best banner.
Taylor says C.F. Sauer approached his company about a year ago after announcing plans to divest the hardware business. After negotiating with an undisclosed number of other parties, Sauer chose Taylor’s to purchase the chain.
“We honestly could not think of a better partner for this transition than Joe and his team at Taylor’s,” Conrad Sauer, CEO of the C.F. Sauer Company, said in a statement. “The history and success of Taylor’s Do It Centers is incredibly similar to that of Pleasants, and we know we are bringing together two outstanding teams of employees with this agreement.”
“The best thing is the employees and the excellent customer service Pleasants customers have come to know-that’s all going to remain the same,” Taylor said of the intention to offer most current employees a job with the new company. Workers affected by the February closure of the flagship store will be able to apply for any open positions at the other eight area stores. Those who are not hired by Taylor’s will be offered severance packages based on years of service, C.F. Sauer said.
Pleasants’ current Vice President of Retail Sales Darrell Campbell will continue in his role with Taylor’s and manage all Richmond area stores. Current President James Hatcher, however, will not stay on board with Taylor’s. “Change is difficult for folks, but hopefully you’ll give us a chance to come into your town and operate these stores with the team that we have here. I think you’ll be pleased with what you find.”
“There’s a lot of history and cultural alignment (between the two businesses),” “We’re a third generation family business just like Pleasants Hardware.” Much like Taylor’s family, three generations of the Hatcher family have run the Pleasants Hardware operation-both before and after the sale to C.F. Sauer.
Taylor’s grandfather started the company as Fuel Feed Home Center in 1927, in what was then described by the company as the “sleepy little resort town” of Virginia Beach. The operation-much like its hometown-grew over the years to include 10 locations in the Hampton Roads area, and an 11th in the Northeastern North Carolina town of Moyock.
C.F. Sauer had originally planned to move Pleasants’ flagship store to the former site of Motley’s Auctions farther west on West Broad Street, near Staples Mill Road. Work began last spring to gut and remodel the former auction house, but later stopped as the company entered negotiations with Taylor’s. The move-and later closure-was and is necessitated by the forthcoming Sauer Center, a mixed-use project to be developed on the property surrounding the C.F. Sauer spice factory. The current flagship store will close February 27th and later be demolished to make way for a new Whole Foods grocery store.
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What would eventually become Pleasants Hardware began in 1908 when S.T. Everidge opened a small hardware store near the company’s current Broad Street location at 1607 West Broad Street. Two years later, Bill Brown purchased the operation, calling it Bill Brown Hardware. In 1915, Henry A. Pleasants bought the business from Brown, changing the name for a third time in one decade to H.A. Pleasants Hardware.
A 17-year-old by the name of James T. Hatcher began working at the store that same year, beginning the family’s three-generation tenure with the company. When Pleasants retired in 1952, Hatcher purchased the business, retaining the Pleasants name.
Over the next several decades, the store enjoyed immense growth and opened its current flagship store in 1975, which was expanded to its current size 1998.
In 1997, in a move to compete with the increasing number of “big box” stores making inroads into the area, Pleasants opened a 60,000-square-foot store in the newly-opened Short Pump Crossing shopping center in the Far West End. It was a big expansion for the neighborhood retailer, and a venture that ultimately failed. The Short Pump store closed several years later.
In an effort to further solidify its position in the market, Pleasants purchased former local chain Tom Brown Hardware, which operated three area hardware stores, in 2000.
Though consumer habits have changed and larger retailers have come into the area over the years, the venerable chain carries on into its second century under its fifth owner. “We can’t wait to build on that valuable legacy and make the Pleasants experience an even better one for customers and employees,” Taylor said.