Name: Paul Filice
Business: Miner’s Ace Hardware
What he said then:
In March 2010, Grover Beach-based Miner’s Hardware announced a deal to open its seventh store in San Luis Obispo County.
“It has always been an area that we looked to get into,” President Paul Filice told The Tribune, “and we finally have the opportunity to do it.”
Just after the October 2009 opening of the chain’s sixth store in Nipomo, developer Rob Rossi offered Miner’s a deal for the Santa Barbara Avenue property previously occupied by Pacific Coast Home and Garden.
After “several hundreds of thousands of dollars” in improvements and a three-month closure, the San Luis Obispo store reopened in late spring with most of its staff retained.
“It’s an interesting market,” Filice said then. “People aren’t buying and selling their homes right now. They’re doing little projects to fix up the homes they’re living in now.”
What he says now:
Though the timing was not what he would have wished for, Filice is glad he grabbed the San Luis Obispo lease when he could.
“We grew a little faster than we’d like to, but we had a few opportunities we couldn’t pass up,” he said. “We didn’t realize how much in tenant improvements we were going to do.”
For example, they exceeded the budget for lighting when they discovered the planned fixtures weren’t enough. So the company added skylights.
“We love the location. We love that it was a hardware store before so people associate it with that already,” the president added. “We can’t complain about anything.”
January’s “fantastic weather” boosted first quarter sales this year, Felice said. “Last year, we saw growth in Nipomo. Everything else was pretty flat.”
Miner’s isn’t planning further expansion for now, but there are “certain pockets” of San Luis Obispo County Filice is keeping his eye on in case a good property becomes available.
“We don’t have anything on the books for this year, which we’re sure happy about,” he said. “I think there’s a couple more opportunities in the county.”
In the meantime, he’s hoping the weather cooperates for Miner’s annual spring sale on gardening supplies that will be held countywide next weekend.
Looking forward, he’s anxious to see measurable improvement in housing.
“I’m hoping that the housing market is going to get better,” he added. “I think we’ve bottomed out and we’re starting to climb back out of it.”
— Raven J. Railey