Grisanti Hardware, one of Atascadero’s oldest businesses, will close Monday, the result of economic challenges that it could not overcome, said owner Rick Grisanti.
The store was started by his parents, Joe and Olga Grisanti, in 1947. They initially opened in the Atascadero Hotel on what was then the main street in town, now El Camino Real. The business then moved in the early 1960s to the current location at 5890 Entrada Ave.
The shop was known for its extensive inventory — from plumbing, electrical and tool supplies to toys, cooking wares, hobby and craft items and paint. “We also have a fantastic nut-and-bolt system,” said Grisanti.
He and his sister Rosemary took over operations in 1996, when his father retired at the age of 83.
Grisanti said one factor leading to the closure was not understanding well enough how he could change his operation in the face of competition from a bigger store like Home Depot.
“I did not realize that when big guys move in, you can raise your prices after a year,” Grisanti said. “I was not into price checking. I was old school. My dad never did that. I had people tell me our prices were too low. I would tell them, ‘Just come back more often.’”
Expenses steadily rose, and Grisanti said the formula he took from his father did not account well enough for such cost increases. Grisanti added he could have also made better use of advertising.
But he did not want to be seen as negative. Rather, Grisanti said he was thankful for the years he had running the business and was hopeful for new ventures. Without specifying his next step, Grisanti said he plans to remain in retail, but not hardware.
He would not detail how much the store’s revenue was, but explained that, at its peak, Grisanti Hardware had eight employees, and now it is just him and his sister.
The building has been sold to Dirk Dole of Atascadero, a friend of Grisanti’s. He did not disclose the purchase price.
Grisanti Hardware will have sales through closing, with items up to 75 percent off regular price. The store will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.
Any leftover inventory will be cleared through auction or a liquidator, Grisanti said.
His fondest memory? “Working with my dad and learning from him. That was something I cherished.”