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National tool retailer opening soon; Harbor Freight Tools to occupy former Hastings building

Chip Herbert of Marco Contractors prepares Saturday to hang some signs for Harbor Freight Tools on the former Hastings Entertainment store on North Main Street. Hiring is occurring now and a tentative opening date has been set for Aug. 21. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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A Pennsylvania contracting firm has started renovations of the former Hastings Entertainment store to make the building ready for the national discount retailer Harbor Freight Tools.

Marco Contractors Inc. started work a few days ago on the large structure at 1705 N. Main St., empty since August 2016 after Hasting’s filed for bankruptcy, and expects to be finished by Aug. 11, said Chip Herbert, superintendent for the firm.

He said that the construction firm, which does about 40 percent of the retailer’s construction jobs, will work with subcontractors and an estimated 20 people to renovate the eastern portion of the one-story building.

A small portion on the west side of the structure, what used to be the Hastings cafe drive-through, will not be renovated at this time, and Herbert said he is not sure what the plans are for that section of the building.

On Saturday, Herbert installed two large signs on the side of the building, one announcing the upcoming arrival of the store and the other indicating that hiring is now occurring through the company’s website.

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Harbor Freight has set a tentative opening for Aug. 21, according to information released Friday by the city of Roswell.

The Roswell Daily Record reported June 10 that Harbor Freight, which has its headquarters in Calabasas, California, had filed for a building permit with the city and was advertising for jobs in Roswell, but a company spokesperson declined to comment at that time.

Emails to company representatives sent Friday and Saturday were not responded to by press time.

“We’re thrilled to be opening our new Harbor Freight Tools store in Roswell and honored by the warm welcome that has been extended to us in this community,” said Eric Smidt, president of Harbor Freight Tools.

He said the company is known for selling quality tools at low prices.

“We do it by manufacturing our tools at the same factories as the expensive brands, but we cut out the middle man and pass the savings on to our customers,” he said. “We’ve also invested millions of dollars to build and operate our own state-of-the-art quality test labs to ensure that we’re constantly driving quality at the lowest possible price.”

Founded in 1977, the company now has 900 stores nationwide, employs about 11,000 people, sells more than 7,000 items in its store and through its website, and has about 40 million customers, including automotive and truck repair shops, government agencies, schools, manufacturers, contractors and tool enthusiasts.

The Roswell store will be the company’s 12th in New Mexico, the release indicated. Some other locations in the state are in Hobbs, Carlsbad, Clovis and Alamogordo, according to the company website.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.