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Hardware chain's local store to close

Hardware chain's local store to close

LANSING - Four months after declaring bankruptcy, the Schaumburg-based Handy

Andy Home Improvement Centers are beginning the slow process of clearing out

and closing down its remaining Illinois stores.

At The Handy Andy Store at 16895 S. Torrence Ave. in Lansing, everything

from hardware to lawn and gardening supplies has already been marked down 10

percent, with deeper discounts continuing until everything in the store is sold.

Dick George, Handy Andy's President, confirmed the chain has sold its

inventory to a liquidator, which would slash prices to clear out remaining

goods. The Lansing store, with about $2 million in merchandise, was kept open

until now because it was one of the chain's more profitable stores.

George said the "real issue" behind the chain's closure was the loss of its

main investor, not a result of the "competitive marketplace." He added that the

presence of a Home Depot directly across the street from the Lansing Handy Andy

did not affect business.

But in a press release issued Friday by Gordon Brothers Partners, the Boston

agency overseeing the sale of Handy Andy said other stores contributed to the

failure of the 50-year-old chain.

"Competition in the home center market was heating up, while at the same

time the retail environment was cooling down," said Robert Sager, the company's

president.

Many industry analysts agree that Handy Andy's demise is the result of a

glut of similar stores, including Home Depot, Menard's and superstores such as

Target.

When Handy Andy declared bankruptcy on Oct 12 after the Belgian company GIB

pulled its support, the chain closed 20 of its 74 stores throughout Ohio and

Michigan. But the fate of the remaining 55 stores - including 17 in Illinois -

was uncertain until Friday's announcement.

"Handy Andy continued to receive new merchandise until just recently," Sager

said. "New merchandise that has never been on sale before will be available,"

he said of the liquidated merchandise.

Consumers, of course, always have the final word in determining whether or

not a business survives.

"I was never impressed with Handy Andy because it was too expensive," said

Matt Seery, a dry cleaner from Tinley Park who was shopping at the Lansing

store Friday. "And stores like Menard's and Home Depot are much more

customer-friendly."

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