York-based Eldredge Lumber and Hardware opens new store in Sanford
SANFORD, Maine — Lee Bremer walks down the center aisle of Eldredge Lumber and Hardware and points to some colorful, chalky artwork on slates posted at the top of all the end caps for the shelves that line the store.
The chalkboard at the head of the tool aisle, for example, shows a toolbox, complete with a hammer, screwdriver, wrench, pliers and saw poking out of it. Another slate has fully bloomed flowers and springtime insects buzzing near them, marking a customer’s arrival in the store’s selection of cleaning supplies.
“Our employees drew those,” said Bremer, the manager of the store.
It seems like a minor detail, but it’s not. According to Bremer, such personal touches are what set Eldredge Lumber and Hardware apart from other hardware stores.
Based in York, the family owned Eldredge Lumber and Hardware opened its newest store at 1787 Main St. in Sanford on Wednesday, March 22.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Bremer smiled and said, referring to international supply-chain issues that created delays in the store’s opening.
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In opening the store, the company has created as many as 30 local jobs in the community, according to Bremer.
Currently, the store is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. For now, the store is closed on Sundays.
“That might change in the future, depending on business traffic,” Bremer said.
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Eldredge Lumber and Hardware opened first store in York in 1937
The site is the company’s third hardware store, after the flagship one in York and a second one in Portland, according to Bremer. The company has been in business in southern Maine since 1937.
“We sell to both contractor and homeowner,” Bremer said.
The store is an independently owned Ace Hardware operation, according to Bremer. The store offers everything from power tools to barbecuing supplies, from cleaners to family-friendly treats, and from Benjamin Moore paint to those orange trash bags Sanford residents are required to purchase for disposing of their waste on collection days.
Bremer said the store – the whole company, actually – is fully committed to selling only organic, non-synthetic pesticides and fertilizers for lawn care.
“You’re not going to see Miracle Gro here,” Bremer said. “You’re not going to see any of those hard, chemical fertilizers here.”
And, next door to the store, lumber is stored and sold in a large drive-through facility that Bremer aptly describes as having the look and size of an airplane hangar.
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Why Sanford was selected for new store
The city of Sanford has a few hardware stores in town, including a well-known big-box location right across the street from Eldredge Lumber and Hardware. Bremer said his employers had their eye on Sanford for a few reasons.
One of those reasons is that the company technically has been in the area before it even broke ground on the new store, Bremer said.
“We were already making deliveries up this way,” Bremer said, referring to lumber.
While the company often has delivered lumber from York to the Lakes Region and elsewhere in the Greater Sanford Area, it also has had suppliers come down this way from northern New England and Canada.
“They’re coming in this direction, and we’re going in this direction,” making Sanford a natural choice for a new store, Bremer said.
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Bremer added that the company also chose Sanford because it recognizes the city’s economic promise and wants to be a part of it.
“There’s so much potential and excitement about what Sanford can become in the future,” said Bremer, who lives in the community. “I think the owners see that.”
And there’s a third reason why the company decided to set up shop in Sanford, despite the presence of as many as three or four other hardware stores in the city. The company believes it brings a new brand to the area.
“We do things differently,” Bremer said. “We are customer-first, or customer-focused. A lot of people will say that customers are their number one priority, and they do an OK job. But for us, it’s like a mantra. We live and breathe and sleep and eat customer service.”
Bremer said Eldredge Lumber and Hardware follows through with customers and does “the right thing by everybody.”
“That’s why we’ve had that success in York, and we’ve had that success in Portland,” he added. “And now we’re going to bring that here.”
This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Eldredge Lumber and Hardware opens new store in Sanford, Maine