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Store’s new spaces make for smiling faces


Last May we told you about Parkrose Hardware owners Bryan and David Ableidinger’s plans to improve and add on to their store (“Parkrose Hardware plans expansion, remodel” — May 2006). Parkrose Hardware at 10635 N.E. Sandy Blvd., employing more than 50 full-time workers, is the anchor retail business in Parkrose.

Faces to fill the new spaces. Nearly two years after the blaze that consumed their old location, Parkrose Hardware owners David and Bryan Ableidinger have completed the expansion, remodeling and addition of new retail spaces on their property. At your service are almost half of the more than 50 full-time Parkrose Hardware employees. Kneeling in front is Scott Mathis. In the first row, from left are: Justine Gisl, Karin Drury, Lori Holten, Rachel Hunsaker, April Carson, Kaylene Simon and Kaye Tunnell (in vest). In the second row, from left are: Susie Wirkkala, LaDawn Fritcher, Cathy Butler, Bill Holts, Tim Lane and Janic Marlatt. In the back row, from left are: Loren Bates, Nick Schnell, Damian Conner, Rick Nelson (on ladder), Gene Stanton and store General Manager Mike Nelson.
This month we follow up with a report that the expansion and remodeling at Parkrose Hardware is finished and the store is set to have (what else?) a big sale and celebration to mark the completion of this major redevelopment project. To recap, in July 2005 a three-alarm blaze burnt down — almost to the ground — the old Parkrose Hardware store located in front of the current hardware store. At the time of the fire, the old store was leased to and occupied by a Dollar Outlet retail operation.

As owners of the property, not only did the Ableidingers have to deal with the fire’s aftermath and subsequent arson investigation (Fire marshals have a person of interest, but not enough evidence to prove it in court, so the case stays open.), they began a grueling series of regulatory and zoning issue wrestling matches with the city over whether to rebuild or not and how to expand the current location, mitigating contrary zoning and city regulations that said they shouldn’t be able to redevelop the way they wanted to.

Some 19 months later, the journey comes to an end. And what do they have now?

One thing for certain is more space and happier employees. Basically Parkrose Hardware has expanded and remodeled at both ends of the store. To help replace the retail space for lease that was lost in the fire, the company built 6,000 square feet of new retail space onto the east end of the building. The biggest change at the store, and the aspect that has made life so much easier for employees, is the eastward expansion.

Expanding the store 140 feet from the end of the old store to the end of the new store, adding 40 feet of new warehouse space, installing two new warehouse dock doors, expanding the loading dock and replacing the ramps has made work life at Parkrose Hardware so much better and more efficient.

“Being able to take a pallet from off a truck straight through the door, into the warehouse is really, really, really nice,” Bryan Ableidinger said as he smiled and gazed affectionately at the new warehouse dock. As they were using the basement of the old store for inventory storage before the conflagration, after the fire, and before demolishing the old structure entirely, employees had to move the inventory from the basement of the old burnt-out store (in a series of rainstorms, of course) take it down the alley, behind the store, next door and into temporary storage. Then, during construction, all freight had to come into the building on the side, in the alley — very time consuming and difficult.

The timing was fortuitous for both ends of the store because when the company’s lease was up at the end of 2006, Maddy’s, the video poker lounge and deli on the other side of the store, packed up and moved to a building farther east on Sandy Boulevard. The Ableidingers took the opportunity to enlarge this end of the store and blew out the connecting wall, moved their outdoor lawn and garden department inside (while a temporary outdoor greenhouse structure is built outside for this spring and next year, a permanent lawn and garden center will be built out to the street), took the housewares department out of this end and moved it to the other new end, and added a Stihl dealership and showroom.

A lease with a Subway Restaurant franchise has been signed for a portion of the 6,000 square feet of new retail space, and Ableidinger looks to attract complementary tenants. “I just need two or three tenants to fill it up,” he said.

“We’ve done what we can do with our property,” Ableidinger said.

The Ableidingers’ property includes the building that housed the former Beale Street Northwest Nightclub and Barbecue that closed in 2006. Before being an eatery and nightclub, it was a bank branch for many years. Another family, the Butler brothers, have assumed the lease, Ableidinger said, and plan on opening a new restaurant under a different name sometime this month.

What a long, strange trip it has been for the Ableidingers and their faithful employees. The new additions will stop the distractions that tried, but failed, to stop Parkrose Hardware from being more than just any hardware store — one of the, if not THE, best hardware store in Portland. Our Mid-county community is fortunate to have a store with such community-minded owners in our midst.

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