Hardware has trumped groceries as the retail offering of choice for Bowling Green-based Houchens Industries at its property at Russellville Road and Dishman Lane.
The signs have come down at the site of the 8,000-square-foot building that had been a Save-A-Lot grocery store, and plans are in the works to convert the building at 2706 Russellville Road into an Ace Hardware location.
Houchens Industries, which got its start in the grocery business, is a licensee for Missouri-based Save-A-Lot and a franchisee for Illinois-based Ace Hardware.
“After careful consideration, we felt that the Russellville Road location was a better fit for our company as an Ace Hardware,” Houchens Food Group Chief Operations Officer Jimmy Nichols said in an email. “Food retailing is our primary business in the Food Group; however, we have found ways to combine food stores and Ace Hardware stores under the same roof as well as side by side.”
Nichols said this will be the third Houchens-operated Ace Hardware store in Bowling Green, joining the stores at Louisville Road and Fairview Avenue. When this new store is open, Houchens will be operating 20 Ace Hardware stores across four states.
The conversion of the Russellville Road store to an Ace Hardware leaves the Save-A-Lot location in the Fairview Plaza shopping center on U.S. 31-W By-Pass as the only Save-A-Lot in Bowling Green.
Ace Hardware, founded in 1924, has more than 5,200 locations across 60 countries. Save-A-Lot, founded in 1977, has close to 1,300 stores across 36 U.S. states.
“Ace is a growing brand in general and is a growing brand at Houchens,” Nichols said. “Houchens Industries has plans to continue expanding our Ace Hardware business.”
In contrast, Nichols said Houchens has no plans to open more Save-A-Lot stores in the Bowling Green area.
The projected date for opening the Russellville Road Ace Hardware is Nov. 19. Nichols said the store will include a Hallmark shop and will carry Benjamin Moore paints and products in addition to the traditional hardware products. He estimates that it will have 15 employees.
Houchens, which has been employee-owned since 1988, started as a single grocery store and has expanded into construction, recycling, insurance, warehousing and other sectors. With more than 18,000 employees and $3.5 billion in annual revenue, Houchens is routinely ranked among the nation’s largest employee-owned companies.