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Carr Hardware plans to open a store in Lenox Center

(Emily Thurlow) Bart Raser, president and co-owner of Carr Hardware, stands in front of what will be the 11,000 square-foot store in Lenox that will open in early 2020.
(Emily Thurlow) Bart Raser, president and co-owner of Carr Hardware, stands in front of what will be the 11,000 square-foot store in Lenox that will open in early 2020.

LENOX — A Berkshire-based retailer is breathing new life in a longtime vacant space.

Carr Hardware, which celebrated its 90th anniversary last year, announced that it plans to open its seventh location in The Center at Lenox, Located on Pittsfield Road.

The Center is already home to several other businesses, including, Berkshire Bank, CVS, Marshalls, Price Chopper and Verizon Wireless.

The home improvement store and industrial supplier will open an 11,000 square-foot store in one-third of the footprint of the former Price Chopper, said Bart Raser, president and co-owner of Carr.

“We love the location. It’s a great high-traffic area for shopping and we’re very excited about the opportunity to build a brand new innovative and complete home improvement store that features a customer shopping experience designed for the Lenox community,” said Raser. “The store will serve the needs of local businesses, contractors, resorts and homeowners, alike.”

Among the customized experience for Lenox shoppers are extended hours.
Hours at the new location are slated to be: 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

In addition to its headquarters in Pittsfield, Carr Hardware also has locations in Great Barrington, Lee and North Adams as well as Avon and Enfield, Connecticut.

Carr’s new location in Lenox will also feature an outdoor garden center.

Though Carr’s North Adams location has an outdoor garden center, the new one in Lenox will be much larger and will offer more fountains, gazing balls and lawn ornaments, said Raser.

“The opening of a new store in Lenox strengthens our presence in the Berkshires and complements our nearby stores in Lee, Pittsfield, Great Barrington and North Adams,” he said.

Founded by Sam Carr, Carr Hardware opened its doors in Pittsfield in 1928. Marshall Raser purchased the business in 1962 and transformed the company into a chain.

Marshall, who is the same age as Carr Hardware, remains active and co-owns the business alongside his son, Bart Raser.

The new site will also act as a “showcase location,” and will include a new partnership that will be of interest to some of the female patrons of The Center, according to Raser, who would not disclose the partnership just yet. The Lenox store is a little more upscale in terms of product selection with lots of small shops that could be described as stores within the store, he said. There will be more color offerings in the paint department, more craft products and a larger selection of kitchen, bath and lighting departments. The store will also offer a broad selection in of housewares and gift options. But even with the new offerings, Carr will continue serving its long-standing customer base with a variety of hardware assortments and well-trained staff.

“When a customer walks into a Carr Hardware location, they are quickly greeted with a smile and an expert is there to answer their technical questions,” said Raser. “That is the forefront of our culture.”

The company offers more than 40,000 different products, including preferred brands: STIHL, Toro, Husqvarna, Milwaukee, Dewalt, Weber, Big Green Egg, Scotts, Graber and Carhartt.

Carr will continue to offer services like digital key duplication as well as screen and glass repair, and will also sell propane. Local delivery will be available for free.

The company also offers more than 350 equipment, party and amusement rental options.

Carr Hardware is also a supplier for the Massachusetts Higher Education Consortium and one of the vendors that hold a statewide industrial supply contract with the Commonwelath of Massachsuetts for Maintenance, Repair and Operations. The contract allows Carr to provide power equipment, for example, to state-run organizations like correctional facilities.

The business has been featured on CBS’ “Undercover Boss” and was named the National Independent Small Business of the Year in 2017 as well as the National LED Retailer of the Year in 2016.

WS Development, which operates The Center at Lenox and is headquartered in Chestnut Hill, will begin renovation and construction of its property in May. The project is slated to be complete by the fall.

The privately-owned firm WS Development has more than 20 million square feet of existing space with 5 million more under development, according to its website. Established in 1990, the firm develops, owns, operates and leases more than 90 properties, including urban buildings, lifestyle centers, community centers and mixed-use developments.

Carr Hardware brings a great amenity and service offering to Lenox with a strong local operator that is well-respected in the community, said Brian Furze, vice president of leasing for WS Development. The lease with Carr Hardware is the first of many to several to kick off the revitalization of The Center at Lenox, said Furze.

Carr Hardware’s new Lenox location is slated to open in early 2020 and will add 15 new employees to its staff.