New hardware store slated to open downtown

Providing convenience for the customer is the number-one reason behind Steve Lundon’s decision to open a second hardware store here April 13–this time on Scott Street.
Handy Pro Hardware, a separate franchise from Lundon’s Northern Do-it center store on Highway 11/71 just west of town, will be located in the former Gagne’s building adjacent to the Northwestern Health Unit.
The new store will carry general hardware products, including household, electrical, garden, and paint supplies.
“It’s convenient for our customers and will be handy for a lot of central and east-end residents who won’t have to travel [so far] anymore,” he said.
Lundon also didn’t feel this new franchise would take any business away from the other, suggesting that, if anything, his customer base might go up.
“I hope to gain more business overall [between] the two stores,” he remarked.
The fact another downtown hardware store (True Value) was tried and went out of business didn’t pose a concern for Lundon, either.
“I think the location factor and fairly good parking [will help],” he said. “And we have fuller product range in hardware items.”
Handy Pro Hardware will employ three full-time people including Randy Mihichuk, who will take up the helm as store manager. Two part-time positions also are expected to be needed there.
Mihichuk recently returned to Fort Frances after a 24-year absence.
He had been living in Manitouwadge, where he had managed an Acklands store and owned his own body shop.
“I’m glad to be back. I have a lot of family here,” he smiled.
“Randy brings a lot of experience to the store,” interjected Lundon. “He brings a good retail background and good customer service [skills].”
Lundon said a grand opening is in the works but no date has been set for it yet.