Pleasants Hardware is closing its flagship store on West Broad Street at the end of February and will be laying off employees, according to layoff notices obtained by Richmond Magazine.
Store closure and layoffs are effective "on or about" Feb. 27, the notices, dated Dec. 29, say.
The closure of the store is not unexpected — the plan was to relocate, clearing its current location for mixed-use development ancho
red by a Whole Foods store. However, it is unclear whether that relocation is still in the works.
James Hatcher III, president of Pleasants, referred questions to Mark Sauer, president of retail sales for C.F. Sauer Co., the corporate owner of the Pleasants Hardware chain.
Reached by phone Thursday, Sauer declined to comment on the closure of the Broad Street store, or to say how it factored into the relocation plans.
"The balls are still up in the air," he said.
It is unclear how many employees are losing their jobs. Pleasants is required by federal law to issue so-called WARN notices (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) in the event of a “mass layoff.” The notices say only that “certain employees at this worksite will be laid off as a result of the facility closure.
“The difficult decision to eliminate these positions was necessitated by the closing of the location. The facility closing and layoffs will be permanent.”
Severance packages will be provided to full-time employees, according to the letter.
“None of us saw this coming,” one store employee said. “None of this thought the ax would fall this quickly.”
He declined to give his name, saying he feared he might lose his job before Feb. 27.
The flagship store at 2024 W. Broad St. had announced that it was moving about 1½ miles west to an existing building at 4402 W. Broad St. in Henrico County. The original timeline had it opening the new store in late 2015, but in August, company president Hatcher told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that it was abandoning plans to renovate that building and would instead build a new facility.
Scheduled opening was some time this spring.
Pleasants opened in Richmond in 1915 and has been operating its flagship store on West Broad since 1976.