Henriksen Ace Hardware closes after 57 years


file photo Sam Henriksen in the original Seventh Avenue North St. Paul location of Henriksen Ace Hardware in 1982.

After being a North St. Paul community staple for 57 years, Henriksen Ace Hardware off Highway 36 will close at the end of the year. 

"Oh, it was the right time," said store owner Jim Henriksen. Sales had dipped following the highway being redone, he said, and he was able to find a buyer for the building that's officially listed at 2200 Highway 36, just off McKnight Road.

Henriksen has worked for Ace for 50 years. His father, Sam, bought the hardware store in 1961. Back then, it was on Seventh Avenue.

Henriksen was nine — he remembers the early, spare store with hardly enough product to fill the place. His mother, Caroline, worked in the store until she couldn't work anymore. "And I didn't have to pay her," Henriksen said with a smile, adding she liked the job.

That first shop soon became cramped. Sam bought the building next door, knocked down a few walls, expanded into a little-used alleyway, and excavated the basement. 

Even after stretching out to about 7,000 square feet, Henriksen Ace again needed more room. In 1987, the store moved to the 12,000-square-foot building on Highway 36.

"We had a lot of visibility with the highway at grade level with us," said Henriksen. Then, in a project completed about eight years ago, the highway was elevated. Henriksen said all visibility for cars traveling west was lost. 

"[Sales] never seemed to come back," said Henriksen, also attributing the decline in sales to how the internet impacts the market. 

"We had a good run," he said.

The hardware store has to be out of the building by the end of the year and Henriksen said the store will likely close on Dec. 15. A closing sale is ongoing.

People stop by to talk about the closing, said Henriksen, and they're said about it.

"They are all sorry to see us go," said Henriksen, his eyes welling. 

 

–Solomon Gustavo can be reached at sgustavo@lillienews.com or 651-748-7815.

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