ACE Hardware in Caldwell will close before the end of the month, store manager John McDermott confirmed Thursday.
Everything in the store is 30% off and store hours have been reduced to Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
McDermott told Patch Monday that had been looking for months for a business to share the 17,000-square-foot space on Bloomfield Avenue in an effort to stay afloat. He said he found out later that day that the store would be closing.
“I don’t think [the owners] have a clear plan for when the last day is going to be,” said McDermott, who has worked at the hardware store since it opened in 2006.
The business at its peak had 32 employees and was recently down to 15. Through attrition, there are seven staff members remaining.
Employees were seen outside the store this week discussing their future plans and hanging signs in the windows that read "Storewide Clearance" and "30% Off Everything!" Inside, shelves that have not been restocked in a while, are looking bare.
“I don’t think it’s a surprise because we have had such a struggle for so long,” McDermott said. “We’ve heard a lot of regrets [from customers].”
McDermott added that the hardware industry in North Jersey as a whole has been struggling in recent years.
“We don’t know of anyone who says they are doing well,” he said.
Vincent Occhino from Verona said he likes to do work around his house and he stops in the store about once a week.
"I think it was a convenience to have a store so near, but the competition ... I guess it's great," Occhino said.
Another shopper from Verona, Dave Shatzel, said he has been coming to ACE since the store opened to get everything from "A to Z" and was coming in for plumbing supplies.
"It's a shame," Shatzel said, "We need a hardware store in Caldwell."
As news got around town of the store closing, customers were stopping in Thursday to see what they might pick up for two-thirds of the price. But with the stock so low, not everyone found what they were looking for, such as Geraldine Flanagan of North Caldwell.
Still Flanagan was sorry to see the store go. "It's sad," she said.