SAN LORENZO -- Orchard Supply Hardware is closing its store on Lewelling Boulevard, where it has been a fixture for almost four decades.
Orchard Supply's marketing director, Rick Saunders, said the decision to close the store was not based on a single factor alone, though he would not be specific as to the reasons.
"We are constantly doing store evaluations. It's not that there was one thing that led to the decision," he said. "It's an ongoing process we, like a lot of companies, do. A ton of things go into the equation."
The exact date of closing has not been set, but Saunders expects it to be within the first half of next year.
Saunders said that while Orchard Supply is closing its San Lorenzo store, it also plans to extensively remodel its San Leandro one beginning after the first of the year.
"It will be much more open, more inviting," Saunders said. The store on Floresta Boulevard in San Leandro is about two miles from the San Lorenzo one.
The pending closure is the latest in a string of store closures in this community, which lies between Hayward and San Leandro. It comes just months after Wolf Camera on Hesperian Boulevard was shuttered, and many storefronts are empty.
The manager of the San Lorenzo store, who identified himself only as Sal, said he doesn't understand the decision to close it. He said the company did not give him clear reasons for the action.
"Our customers love this store, and our
Most of the workers have been at the store a number of years, with one there for 35 years. The current 37 employees and the six who are on leaves of absence have not been told if they will be transferred to other stores. "That normally would happen," Saunders said, though he did not know the fate of the San Lorenzo employees.
Keith Barros, who has lived in San Lorenzo for 36 years, said the store is important to residents in the area. "It's where all of us go for our hardware; it has the things we need, and it's close," he said.
Barros said he doesn't doubt that the two-year Lewelling road project, which widened the thoroughfare and put utilities underground, cut into the store's sales. But since the project has been finished, "there's more traffic on Lewelling between Hayward, Castro Valley and San Lorenzo. And now they're going to close the doggone store?"
Alameda County is trying to find a new tenant for the San Lorenzo site, which Orchard Supply sold in April, said Bill Lambert, county assistant director for economic development.
"I've been working with the new property owner and his broker to find someone who would move in," he said. "A couple of interested tenants are examining the property to see if it's a viable location for them."
County Supervisor Wilma Chan said, "We're aware this is a loss to the community. We're looking for a replacement."
Saunders said despite closing its San Lorenzo store, Orchard Supply is expanding overall. The company, which began in 1931 as a cooperative in San Jose, opened a new store in the Los Angeles area earlier this year and plans to open one in Portland, Ore., next year. It also is remodeling several of its stores, including three in San Jose.
Barros said he did not think many San Lorenzo residents would go to the San Leandro store. Because of the company's decision, "I will not go there if I can help it," he said.
Saunders said the corporate office has received a few calls opposing the closure, but "it's a done decision."
Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473 or follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr1.