Orchard Supply Hardware Store is closing in South Pasadena, probably in November. Photo by Steve Whitmore

The Orchard Supply Hardware Store, better known as OSH, in South Pasadena is closing its doors for good as the entire chain goes through liquidation, according to OSH officials.

There has been no official announcement as to when the local store at 452 Fair Oaks Ave. will close but an employee says it’s been scheduled for the first part of November. Nationally, company officials have indicated all stores will be shuttered by the end of the year.

“We have been told it will be Nov. 2, as a tentative date, but it really depends on how quickly we empty the warehouse,” said Gary Kum, 65, who has worked at the local OSH store for the past two years.

Kum came out of retirement to work at the OSH store because he was getting bored.

“I was retired and was getting so bored that I decided to get a job and applied here,” Kum said during a telephone interview this week. “I have loved this job.”

Orchard Supply Hardware, founded in 1931 in San Jose, California, and acquired by Lowe’s in 2013, has 99 stores in California, Oregon and Florida. Lowe’s is closing the stores to focus on its core home improvement business, according to company officials.

“While it was a necessary business decision to exit Orchard Supply Hardware, decisions that impact our people are never easy,” Lowe’s president and CEO Marvin Ellison said in a statement released to the press last week. “We will be providing outplacement services for impacted associates, and they will be given priority status if they choose to apply for other Lowe’s positions.”

Kum said the announcement of the closing was delivered by the store manager through a telephone call a week ago Tuesday night.

“I was shocked,” Kum said. “I couldn’t believe it. It came out of nowhere. The initial shock has not really had time to set in because we’ve been so busy.”

Kum said the store’s closing sales are packing the store with customers.

“This is sad,” he said. “I really have loved this job as a sales associate here. I am going to miss my co-workers. They have become good friends.”

Kum also said that customers have expressed their dismay about the closure.

“A lot of customers have told me they are really going to miss us because they don’t like going to the big-box stores,” Kum said. “They don’t get any service there and they hate that. Here they get service. I feel more for them than for me losing the job.”

Kum Is not wasting any time in finding another job, though, as he has already started the search.

“I have to,” he said. “I’ve been in the job market already. I can’t pass up a job opportunity. I may be able to give them my two-week notice before they actually close. But this will definitely be missed.”

Steve Whitmore
Author

Steve Whitmore is the editor for the South Pasadena Review. Steve has spent more than four decades as an award-winning print and broadcast journalist with a 16-year stint as the senior media advisor for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Steve comes to us from the Keene Sentinel in Keene, New Hampshire, where he covered politics and was a columnist.

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