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Family-Run Hardware Store Finds a Niche in Vases, Votive Candles

Move over hammer and nail, decorative vases and votive candles are moving in on the hardware business.

Griffin Ace Hardware, a small chain of family-owned shops in San Diego, has introduced a boutiquelike house and giftware section at its newest location, 10511 4S Commons Drive in the new 4S Commons Town Center.

The shop is open now, but will celebrate with official grand opening activities Dec. 1-3.

Women, in particular, are driving much of the hardware industry’s noncommercial business, according to published reports.

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Surrounded by cookie-cutter homes in an upper-class community next to Rancho Bernardo, the 4S Ranch shop’s affluent customer base is expected to frequent the business for renovating/redecorating needs, as well as basic home repair help.

“We’ve designed this store with one key element in mind , our customers,” said Bill Griffin, chief executive officer. “We wanted to provide our customers the ultimate helpful shopping experience, and we’ll focus on exceeding their expectations each time they walk through the doors.”

Griffin, his wife and their three grown daughters run the Griffin Ace Hardware chain, which includes a Santa Ana location opened by Griffin’s father in 1953 and a Del Mar/Carmel Valley location opened in 1991.

The family employs two dozen workers and reports annual revenues in excess of $4 million.

In addition to vases, votive candles and the like, the 4S Ranch shop carries lawn and garden products alongside the traditional tool, plumbing, paint and electrical merchandise found in a hardware store.

“The design of this store focuses on helping customers solve their home improvement challenges,” Griffin said. “This environment not only makes shopping for hardware supplies a less daunting and intimidating task for do-it-yourselfers, but also creates a unique and helpful shopping experience.”

A fourth Griffin Ace Hardware is being developed in the Sellers Plaza section of Liberty Station in San Diego. The store will take up 20,000 square feet of a 47,000-square-foot historic 1920s-era building, according to project developers.

Terms of the 10-year lease signed by Griffin were not disclosed.

The Liberty Station shop is expected to open in September.

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Discount Disney:

San Diego County’s first Disney Store Outlet has arrived just in time for the holiday shopping season, which shifts into high gear Nov. 24, the day after Thanksgiving.

The 6,655-square-foot store opened Oct. 28 at the Shops at Las Americas. There are at least three standard Disney Stores in the San Diego area, but this opening marks the first outlet location in the county.

San Diego was once home to at least six Disney Stores located in major malls.

Today, according to mall Web sites, the only local malls with a Disney Store are Westfield Parkway in El Cajon, Westfield Plaza Bonita in National City and Westfield Plaza Camino Real in Carlsbad.

The Disney Store Outlet will sell the same type of merchandise found at regular Disney Stores but at a discounted price; merchandise such as adult and children’s clothes with Disney characters, toys, music boxes, books and other Disney memorabilia. Outlet shops generally carry “extra” or “outdated” merchandise that are moved to make way for new items.

The Shops at Las Americas is located 20 minutes south of downtown San Diego.


Send retail news to Jessica Long at

jlong@sdbj.com

. She may also be reached at (858) 277-6359, ext. 3114.

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