Sunday, June 08, 2008



Tired of the big box stores where you can't find exactly what you want ? The Winnipeg North End iinstitution Pollock's Hardware has reopened as a community co-op. Here's the story from the Winnipeg Free Press.


Hardware institution returns to North End
The 'hardware-retail' listings in the Yellow Pages is about to get another entry.

Pollock's, a North End institution since 1922, is re-opening today.

"There were certainly times when we thought it wouldn't happen," Eric Bulmer, an area resident and an executive member of Pollock's Hardware Co-op Ltd., said Friday as he and several other residents finished the clean-up before the store's unofficial opening this morning.

Neighbourhood hardware stores are an endangered species across North America, a victim of the big-box craze. There were only four in Winnipeg when Pollock's closed last December.

The hardware store at the corner of Main Street and Atlantic Avenue had earned a reputation over 85 years as one of the few remaining retail outlets that sold those hard-to-find doodads that the giant stores don't carry anymore. And the building's perfectly maintained storefront was a credit to Lois Cash and her family's commitment to the Luxton neighbourhood.

Cash was forced to close the store, after operating it for 14 years, when she couldn't find a buyer. But area residents didn't want to lose a business that had become a vital part of the community. A community meeting was held in late April and a decision made to form a co-operative and buy the store from Cash.

The co-op hired Jim Chapryk, an area resident with some retail experience, to be the new general manager. The name was formally changed to Pollock's Hardware Co-op Ltd., from Pollock Hardware. Co-op members pitched in to tidy the store.

The co-op sold life memberships for $25. Thanks to a feature on Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe radio program on CBC, cheques came in from across the country. Chapryk said when the store turns a profit, all the profit will be returned to the members based on how much they've bought at the store.

"We have a new computer system in place that will track every purchase by each member, so that at the end of the year we'll know how much each member purchased and what their share of the profits will be," Chapryk said.

Chapryk said an official grand re-opening is set for June 21.
Pollock's will be open Monday to Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Here is the mission statement from the Pollock's Hardware Co-op, a project that Molly feels is very much "anarchism in action" as it is socialized business outside of the state. Sign up if you live here in Winnipeg. Molly has to say that she is a member of several co-ops for various things, including a co-op grocery that supplies "real food" rather than the lie of "organic food". She welcomes this new member of the socialist marketplace, and she is very pleased that it is set up to serve ordinary people rather than subculturists. the wife and I have been to Pollock's many times before looking for hard-to-find household items, and we'll be back to the co-op as well. Me for buying the screws there.

Why a Co-op?
The owners of Pollock Hardware planned to retire so they put the business up for sale. After quite a while on the market there was no serious interest in buying and operating this North End institution. A number of customers believed that a community ownership strategy might be a viable option to individual private ownership and the hardware co-op idea was born.

The Co-op model has a long history of working hard for social and economic development in both rural and urban Manitoba. With the backing of the community through memberships, investment and volunteerism, Pollock’s Hardware Co-op hopes to:
*Meet the community’s needs as a successful hardware business
*Promote local ownership and control
*Develop and provide community leadership
*Build a stronger community

Pollock’s Hardware Co-op will serve our community and beyond. Unlike some models where only members are able to shop in their facility, Pollock’s Hardware Co-op will be open to all when the doors open again later this spring.

So come on up to 1407 north Main Street and bring a friend.
Hope to see you there!


Larry Gambone said...

That is good news. I hope other places start doing the same. it has to be one of the most bloody stupid aspects of contemporary living that you have to drive 10 km to get a pound of nails, when 20 years ago you would have walked to the neighborhood hardware store. Everything is so inconvenient these days as corporate greed and megalomania have displaced service.

Werner said...

"Big Box" stores are a pain. There is one smaller hardware in my area in the northwest of Regina and there is one holdout in the Rosemont district (an old working class area) but this is unusual for most cities.