Local hardware stores merging

CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson Richard Petty, owner of Triangle Ace Hardware, and James Burns, owner of Burns Hardware Do-It Center, have decided to merge their stores starting in 2012. The stores will have to undergo some changes, including their national affiliations, but both said the merger will be able to provide more services to each of their customer bases.

Benna Sayyed

The new year will bring change in the Clovis hardware and home improvement retail market.

In March, Triangle Ace Hardware and Burns Hardware Do-It Center will become one store at the Triangle location on north Prince Street, according to Triangle owner Richard Petty and Burns owner James Burns.

Petty said the merger will allow him to take a less active role in the business, while Burns, who will run the new and to-be-named store, said he’s looking forward to expanding home improvement products and services.

The new store both men envision, they said during a recent interview, will be a combination of a friendly neighborhood hardware store and home improvement center for the do-it-yourselfer with products and services not available at most big box chain stores.

The two said when the merger is completed sometime in March, the store will employ 11 full-time and five part-time employees. The merger will result in the loss of two administrative positions and one clerk position, they said.

“The merger with Triangle will allow Burns’ loyal customers a greater selection of merchandise including lumber and building materials,” said Burns. “It will also give Triangle’s customers access to Merrilat cabinets, Mohawk, Beaulieu, and Shaw flooring as well as installation on those items.

“Everyone at Burns Do-It Center is looking forward to the opportunity and excitement that will come with the Triangle merger.”

“After 52-years doing business in Clovis,” said Petty, “we are happy to merge with Burns Hardware.”

The Triangle store was once the last retail building on the city’s north end of town. Its beginnings trace back to Petty’s father, R.M. “Pat” Petty, a building contractor.

The site served as a lumberyard until it, along with two warehouses and other structures, were destroyed in a 1964 fire.

While surveying the destruction, Richard Petty and his brother, David Petty, decided to purchase the business from R.M. Petty.

“We asked all the employees to go home, clean up, and get back to work at their regular time, 7:30 (a.m.), thus no employee lost any work. … we set up business in Pat’s home across the alley, using one bedroom, an office, and double garage,” Richard Petty said.

Hardware and home improvement have been in the Burns family blood for more than 100 years, beginning in 1888 when John Burns opened a general merchandise store on Beaver Creek in a part of Oklahoma known as No Man’s Land. He moved that business to Logan in 1900, then later to Nara Visa, where it remained in business until 1972.

James Burns is the great-grandson of John Burns and today operates four businesses in west Texas and eastern New Mexico. In addition to Clovis, Burns Hardware stores are located in Texline, Texas, Tucumcari, and Raton.

“The idea that we can combine and continue to do what we’ve both done is great. We’re not dropping anything or quitting anything,” Burns said.

Burns said a lack of space in his hardware store prevents him from stocking sufficient building materials that could potentially increase sales.

“A perfect example is concrete mix. If you want to sell that at a competitive price you have to buy a truckload. Right now I don’t have any place to put it and I can’t sell it,” Burns said.

Petty said his inventory target is to keep all the chief products that are usable and reduce merchandise that sells poorly. He said Triangle might need to reduce its inventory by 30 percent.

Petty said while the two are unsure how the move of the Burns store to the existing Triangle store will take place, they want to complete it with minimum interruption to customers.

Bill Moore, owner of Moore Enterprises LLC., has shopped at Triangle for more than 20 years and is anxious about what the merger will bring.

“They’re both good solid businesses and I enjoy doing business with both of them,” Moore said.

Dale Fite, a Clovis real estate maintenance worker, has shopped at Burns since it opened 25 years ago. He has been a friend of James Burns for more than 15 years.

“I always shop with the people who I know and are friends. They go to our church. I try to stay with local businesses,” Fite said.

After the merger, Triangle general manger and IT administrator Randy Petty will leave the store following 37 years of employment. Randy has worked in management for 25 years and as a full-time general manager for 15 years. He is involved in work with the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce and helps oversee and put together various community events.

“I think the merger is going to be a win-win for both stores’ customers. The merger itself brings a lot of history and experience in the retail home improvement industry. I think it’s going to be very good for the community,” Randy said.