GREENVILLE — A new hardware and building materials retail store is coming to town.
Motorists have surely noticed a new building being constructed at 306 Maplewood St., directly in front of the Jacket Lanes bowling alley along M-57 on the west side of Greenville.
The property — previously the Maplewood Health Center — was purchased by Randy Austin, the former owner of Ace Hardware in Greenville, which he closed in October 2016. (CORRECTION: The property at 306 S. Maplewood Drive, currently being redeveloped into CJ’s Ace Hardware in Greenville, is owned by The Integrated Group, Inc., of Greenville, and is currently being purchased by Alpha Group Development LLC, of Rockford, a company owned by Coralyn Austin. An article published in the Jan. 6 edition of The Daily News incorrectly stated Austin’s husband, Randy Austin, had purchased the property.)
Austin razed the Maplewood building last summer with the intent to build a new retail complex focused on hardware. According to Austin, once the new building is complete, the business will be under the ownership of Coralyn Woldhuis.
Woldhuis said the property has been under observation by Alpha Group Development LLC, which has been focused on the retail development of the site since 2015.
According to Woldhuis, Alpha Group Retail will be conducting business at the property as “CJ’s Place,” and will be open to the public this spring.
“The intended use of the new space is to establish a new full-line hardware and building materials retail store,” she said. “Alpha Group has been working closely with one of the nation’s largest retail cooperatives to design and merchandise a new store that is both representative of the specific brand and truly reflective of the community. The city of Greenville has also been tremendously supportive with all aspects of the project and repeatedly taken a very proactive and pro-business stance to keep things moving.”
Woldhuis said licensing agreements prevent Alpha Group and CJ’s Place from formally identifying the national brand/co-op at this time.
“I know that the community is eager to be in the know and I suspect we will be able to officially share this information in the near future,” she said. “The Greenville community should rest assured that the nation’s most recognized and awarded hardware brand will soon be in the community.”
According to Austin, the new development came to be after a recommendation from Ace Hardware corporate to close his previous location at 1325 W Washington St., formerly Jorgensen’s grocery store.
“I closed Greenville Ace Hardware at the end of October at the recommendation of Ace Hardware corporate over shared safety concerns for continuing operations in the old Jorgensen building,” Austin said. “As staff and customers regularly witnessed, each rain shower would require the placement of a dozen or two buckets to catch the water and often result in saturated ceiling tile falling to the sales floor. Thankfully no one was ever hurt but I knew early this year that there was simply no way to continue long term operations in the building.”
Due to Austin’s nine-year ownership of Ace Hardware and a year of record sales, Austin decided to purchase property and open a new hardware store.
“I and my former staff worked with the new ownership for many months to make sure that they would have the right product mix and store design for the Greenville market,” he said. “Many of the former Ace staff will likely adorn the ‘Helpful Certified’ vests in the new store and benefit from significant additional training over the winter months. While I’m disappointed to have had to close the old store and business, I’m excited about the new (business) and how it will be so much better equipped to serve the community.”
According to Woldhuis, the new store will offer plenty of space within the 13,000 square-foot building.
“CJ’s Place … will provide the largest hardware store format Greenville has ever experienced,” she said. “The store incorporates the latest store design and product offerings to provide a very deep product selection in a relatively small footprint. CJ’s Place will also bring to Greenville the most extensive paint store the community has yet experienced providing national brands at very competitive pricing.”
Located adjacent to M-57, Woldhuis said she and the future staff are excited at the prospect of bringing back additional hardware options following the closing of the previous store.
“The location on the corner of M-57 and Maplewood Street is perfect and allows customers to quickly stop in, park close to the door, grab what they need and get on with life,” she said. “The ideal easy-access location and partnership with America’s strongest hardware brand mean that Greenville will finally enjoy great access, great selection, great pricing and most importantly, great service like never before.”