Biz Buzz: Miner’s aims to take over Pacific Coast

Miner’s Ace Hardware is hoping to add its seventh location to its list of San Luis Obispo County stores.

The company is in negotiations to buy Pacific Coast Home and Garden Center in San Luis Obispo, said Paul Filice, company president. If a deal is reached, it would give Miner’s its first store in San Luis Obispo. The company would like to open the location in the spring.

“We have put a deal together to take over the Pacific Coast Home and Garden Center with details to be determined,’’ Filice said.

Miner’s was approached by Rob Rossi — owner of Pacific Coast Home and Garden — about a year ago, Filice said. At the time, company officials were not sure if that was the direction to take, as it was also preparing to open a location in Nipomo, Filice noted.

But Rossi contacted Miner’s again a week after the opening of the Nipomo store in early October. This time, Filice said it was something Miner’s couldn’t pass up.

“We’re excited to get going,’’ he said.

Rossi said that Miner’s would be a good fit, although he noted that the discussions are ongoing and that “we’re about a week away” from knowing whether it would come together.

Rossi explained that he decided to start talks with Miner’s because it would be better able to operate a home and garden center, something that’s not his bailiwick.

“We really love the property and love the business, but it’s not a business that I have background in,’’ he said.

Should Miner’s complete the purchase, Filice said it would be “very similar to what we did at the new store in Nipomo. We anticipate a big garden department there, and we will bring lumber back in.”

Filice said Miner’s would find use for the barn on the property, which Pacific Coast has used to display furniture and other accessories.

However, he explained that the focus would be on items people need, not necessarily what they want.

“We don’t sell big ticket discretionary items,” he said. “If they (customers) have a broken faucet, they come to us to fix it. If their water heater goes out, they come to us to replace it.”

Miner’s has about 230 employees, and it would hire 10 at the San Luis Obispo location. Twenty work there now for Pacific Coast.

“It’s always fun to do a new store,’’ Filice said.

— Julie Lynem

Wall Street Journal taps local adviser

Bob Wacker of San Luis Obispo was part of a panel of financial advisers highlighted in an article in The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

He and five other financial advisers were interviewed in a question-and-answer article that was the cover story for a special section in the national newspaper. The question they addressed was, “What should you do with your money in 2010?”

Daisy Maxey, a Dow Jones Newswires reporter, conducted the session. Topics covered included expectations for the coming year, preparing for tax changes, where to put cash on hand, and converting from a traditional Individual Retirement Account to a Roth IRA.

On the overall outlook, Wacker said that he is advising clients toward quality stocks that provide steady revenue and have good balance sheets. Wacker is concerned with how rising interest rates could hurt bonds.

Of the panelists, four were from the East Coast, and one was from the Midwest; Wacker was the only one from the West.

A Los Osos resident, Wacker was the founder of R.E. Wacker Associates in San Luis Obispo, which offers clients guidance on a fee-only basis.

He has been recognized by Worth and Bloomberg Wealth Management publications as one of the nation’s top financial advisers.

Pacific Capital Bancorp of Santa Barbara purchased R.E. Wacker in 2008 for $7 million. At that time, R.E. Wacker had $475 million in assets.

Wacker said he wanted to sell his firm to assure its continuation after he retires, and that Pacific Capital shared his “client-centric” focus.

— Tad Weber