If you’re from Renton or live in Renton, odds are McLendon Hardware is a well-known household name.
So it may have come as a shock when the company announced its acquisition by Central Network Retail Group on March 31.
The family-run company is set to finalize the transaction sometime this month, Gail McLendon, president of McLendon Hardware, said in an email.
According to a press release, CNRG is “a multi-format, multi-brand retailer operating 90 hardware stores, home centers and lumberyards throughout 11 states across the U.S.”
Included in the sale is seven stores and two distribution centers.
The oldest and largest of the seven is the Renton store. It opened in 1926 and was originally known as the U.S. Junk Company.
What Is McLendon Hardware?
McLendon said there are three “strategic ‘keys’” that sets McLendons apart from other hardware stores. Those three areas are expert advice, legendary customer service and unmatched product selection for DIY projects, she said.
“We invest in our team members so they have the skill set to provide these three keys,” McLendon said.
She credits the company’s customer loyalty to the team members they hire.
“We hire team members that we know will embrace our culture which is reminiscent of the old days of hardware stores,” McLendon said.
She added knowledge of the industry also makes their employees special. She said many of the employees “have a following of customers that see them every day.”
How CNRG Will Help
The sale of McLendon to CNRG is to help this family-owned business maintain their goal of preserving and protecting the legacy of McLendon Hardware and its employees, McLendon said in an email.
“To secure the company’s future, we sought a partner with similar values and financial strength to grow the business and provide new and long-term opportunities for our team members,” she said.
McLendon added customers will notice new products. Currently the stores carry 75,000 items and following the sale customers will have access to more than 400,000 items.
McLendon assured there will be no changes in personnel and the management will stay the same.
The name will also stay the same, she said. “And there will be growth in store locations that will expand the McLendon presence throughout the region.”
When asked what drew McLendon to the CNRG, she said, “They have a similar culture and have made many acquisitions similar to ours with success.”
Following our original post of the news of the sale Friday, many Facebook users commented on the sadness they feel. But when asked what she would say to customers regarding the sale and the future of the stores, she said many aspects will not change.
McLendon added the new owners, CNRG, is impressed with their business model and the process they have used over the years to deliver and maintain their customer base.
“CNRG’s management style is a hands-off approach,” she said. “They want us to run the business as we always have and be successful.”
How It Started
Moses Jones “Pop” McLendon founded the company after him and his family settled in Renton in 1923. His father-in-law purchased a second hand junk shop and the two began operating the store three years later in 1926.
Then in 1934 for $500, Pop made a deal with a local hardware store owner Carl Dale. The two of them then went into business as co-owners of Dale &McLendon. A year following, his father-in-law died and the U.S. Junk Co. closed for good. According to McLendon’s website, the stores inventory moved to Dale &McLendon.
Up until the 1950s, the store was run by family members only until the first non-member was hired. And in the 1960s, Pop bought out Dale’s share and become the sole owner and therefore created McLendon Hardware, Inc.
The company expanded in the 1970s when the Sumner store opened. From then on, five more stores opened with locations in Woodinville, Puyallup, White Center, Kent and Tacoma.