A little more than a month after Aubuchon Hardware closed its doors, the empty store is being given new life by an existing Whitehall business.
Christopher LaFlamme confirmed Tuesday that he is moving his store from its current location at 120 Main Street to the Aubuchon store on Broadway.
Besides a more visible location, the new store is much larger and will allow LaFlamme to carry a larger inventory of products.
“Basically it was a decision to stay where we were, leave Whitehall, or move to another location and expand,” LaFlamme said. “We love the community and I think this is great for the town and great for the company.”
He said he had been looking to expand his Whitehall operation and had considered renting additional space elsewhere in the community and operating two stores in the community before the Aubuchon opportunity presented itself.
LaFlamme said he has a rent to own agreement with the owner of Aubuchon Hardware and the plan is for the company to move in later this year after he has had a chance to remodel and renovate the building.
“I used to describe the Whitehall store as a satellite store but to be honest, I think it will be the nicest store I have when it’s all done,” LaFlamme said.
The current store is less than half the size of the Aubuchon building and by far the smallest of his three stores (he also owns stores in Cambridge and Granville). The new location will allow LaFlamme to carry a more encompassing and diverse line of products.
“I was very limited with what I could sell in Whitehall and now I’m not,” he said. “The store was great but it’s only 40 to 50 percent of what we sell. The big thing for me, we’ll be able to do what we do.”
The new location will carry a full line of seasonal upholstery (the current store can hold only about 50 percent), flooring, bedding and appliances.
LaFlamme also plans to add some products he’s been unable to carry in Whitehall, such as a propane filling station and wood pellets.
“I’m hoping to fill the physical void and the convenience void of what Aubuchon’s used to sell,” he said. “Some of what Aubuchon was selling, we sell in our other stores, but couldn’t carry it in Whitehall before now.”
Besides wood pellets and propane, other hardware-centric products the store plans to carry include lawn movers, coaxial wire and other electronic attachments.
The larger store will also require a larger staff, and LaFlamme plans to hire a few more employees, filling another void created when Aubuchon closed its doors.
LaFlamme is hoping to complete the move by the first of December.