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Landmark St. Paul hardware store to close after 80 years

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Fox 9 reports a St. Paul landmark is closing its doors after 80 years. Seven Corners Hardware owner Bill Walsh has been living in California for the past decade, and says the commute is no longer worth it.

Walsh's father and grandfather previously operated the store, which opened in 1933.

"People came in to buy hunting supplies, pots and pans, you name it," Walsh said. "Back then, with our wood floors, 12-foot ceilings and mix of general goods, we were more like an old-fashioned department store than a modern hardware operation."

Tiger Capital Group, a company that specializes in liquidating assets, will sell off the store's inventory.

A company representative tells BringMetheNews the store will close in about 16 weeks. The name of the buyer is not being disclosed.

The hardware store occupies 10,000 square feet just a block from Xcel Energy Center.

The Pioneer Press reported last fall that the West Seventh neighborhood of St. Paul is becoming a trendier place to live, work and play.

"The whole tenor of the neighborhood has changed over," said Eric Hare, a member of the West Seventh/Fort Road Federation, one of the city's community councils. "I'm seeing even more young families with kids than I ever did."

The blue-collar neighborhood is being compared to Northeast Minneapolis, with a rejuvenation fueled by artists and small businesses.

For instance, the old Schmidt brewery is being converted to artists' lofts in a $123 million partnership between the developer, Plymouth-based Dominium, and the city of St. Paul.

Though likely tied to neighborhood gentrification, the closure is part of a national trend among independently owned hardware stores, according to many media sources including the business website Highbeam.com. Big box "home center" stores like Lowe's, Menard's and Home Depot have taken over a lot of the market.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the number of hardware stores in Milwaukee County has been halved in recent years. Independents are unable to withstand competition from the home centers, which are able to offer greater discounts because they buy more volume.

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