Pagano's plans to leave flagship store
Pagano's plans to leave flagship store
Updated at 5:03 p.m. Thursday, January 29 in BOLD
Pagano’s Hardware Mart has occupied the corner of Lincoln Avenue and St. Charles Street for nearly 70 years. But in a few short months, the iconic Island shop, which bills itself as “so much more than a hardware store,” will be moving to a new location.
Pagano’s, which is known to customers for its wide variety of goods and highly personal customer service, will be vacating its flagship location this spring and moving to the Webster Street space once occupied by Blockbuster Video after an apparent breakdown in negotiations over a new lease.
“It’ll end up being a plus,” Pagano’s owner Dave Giovannoli said. “It doesn’t sound like it now, but it will be.”
The storefront housed a coal and ice shop before Andy Pagano purchased it, in 1948. “Trucks would drive in, load up with coal and ice and load out the back,” Giovannoli said.
Pagano first ran a fertilizer shop there, with a small hardware department that ultimately became a primary business. Pagano’s Hardware has operated on the corner since the 1950s.
In addition to traditional home hardware supplies, the store offers up everything from readers to heaters, candles and canes, patio furniture and pet supplies – and a knowledgeable staff that can pinpoint the location of desired item within the dim, crowded warren of narrow store aisles.
Giovannoli, a sales representative whose longtime customers (and friends) included Pagano, bought the store from him in 1994 after promising to retain its name, level of service and old-fashioned look and feel. He inked a deal to open a second location at Alameda South Shore Center in 2009.
Giovannoli said he once planned to buy the Lincoln Avenue building that houses the flagship store, but wasn’t able to afford the price Pagano’s family sought for it after he died in 2002. Now, he said, the building’s current owner is asking for a rent he said he can’t afford.
“We can’t deal with the lease that’s been presented to us,” Giovannoli said.
Real estate broker Rich Krinks said the building’s owner hired him to negotiate a new lease with Pagano’s this past summer. He said the owner was willing to reduce the hardware store’s rent “by a substantial number.”
“This was made very clear to Pagano’s reps that the rent was being reduced and that the landlord wanted them to stay,” Krinks said. “Apparently it was not enough of a decrease and supposedly Pagano’s now has a plan to downsize dramatically and move to the old Blockbuster location.”
But in a timeline published in the comments to this story, Giovannoli said the building's owner only offered a rent reduction after months of negotiations and after Giovannoli had signed a lease on the new space, with his landlord agreeing to consider an offer Giovannoli says he made in July on the same day a reporter called the landlord about the planned move.
The new store will be smaller than the space that houses Pagano’s now, but Giovannoli said he will make it work. It will have wider aisles and better parking, he said.
“On the other hand, this is such a great old place,” Giovannoli said.
Customers – particularly those who live in the store’s existing neighborhood – said they were saddened to hear about the move.
“That store is a unique puzzle, but it's such fun wandering through it trying to find some particular thing and coming across all these other useful items,” Jon Florey wrote on The Alamedan’s Facebook page.
Others said they fear a lot of the items – and the charm – that make the store special will be lost in the move.
“The new location will only offer a fraction of the inventory that the current location offers. And, of course, the history and charm will be lost forever,” Frank Smith said.
Giovannoli said he wants to assure customers that the new store will still be Pagano’s – just with a new look.
“We’re not going to mess this up,” he said. “It’s still going to be Pagano’s.”