I've been trading phone calls with Andrea Bond, head of marketing for Elliott's Hardware, for most of the day. A few minutes ago, we finally connected, and as you can imagine, following the news that the Maple Avenue location's up for grabs for a cool $8 million, "it's been a little bit of a long day," she says. "But not unexpected. I knew this would happen at some point."
First off, Bond wants to make it clear: Elliott's hasn't even thought about where it'll move if and when the Maple Avenue outpost sells. So while Newt Walker has some ideas, Elliott's isn't that far down the line -- meaning, don't go putting up "Welcome!" banners along Greenville Avenue just yet.
"We haven't thought beyond seeing if we could sell this property," says Bond. "On a personal level, I can think of a lot of places I'd like to see an Elliott's, but as a company we haven't wanted to go that far. So let's not speculate on any place before we know if selling this location is even possible."
We talked for a while about the fact that just a few years ago, Elliott's refused any amount of money for the building and land. Now it's asking for $8 million during what I believe economists refer to as "uncertain times." I asked her: Will you guys be fine if the store doesn't sell? After all, the property's all paid off ...
"Oh, yeah, I think so," she says. "It's not an ideal location for us anymore like it was 25 years ago, but we'd be perfectly OK. We pull customers from the neighborhood, from all neighborhoods nearby and even further away. I think we'd be fine. It's not a question of things aren't OK, things are bad. We just felt like it was a good time to market the property and see what the possibilities are."
What makes it no longer an idea location?
"I can't put my finger on any one thing," she says. "But we used to be a destination, and right now, where we are, unless you live in the neighborhood or close by, you have to make a concerted effort to get to us. And we don't want to be the last place people go. We want to be in the top two, three places people go. I hear from people all the time, 'I went here and here and here, and then I went to Elliott's, and of course you have it and why didn't I go threre first?' Not that our location is a problem that cant be overcome, but we want to be top of mind and as convenient to our customers as possible."