Those walks around South Pasadena won’t be the same for Steveo Stanard, who would often bump into friendly neighbors praising his place of business – the solo OSH or Orchard Supply Hardware store in South Pasadena.
“I’m going to miss seeing everyone,” said a somewhat dejected Stanard on Wednesday after learning he is among 4,300 employees who soon will be out of work at one of 99 OSH stores as a result of the company announcing it is going out of business. “Wearing my Orchard Supply Hardware shirt, I would walk through South Pasadena and everybody would greet me and say hello. They love us. It won’t be the same.”
Stanard, 52, a sales lead, has been an OSH employee for 25 years and says that he doesn’t relish the idea of seeking new employment. The past 12 years he’s worked in the South Pasadena store and helped push OSH’s “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” branding effort by attending a wide variety of events with a focus on giving back to the community.
Through the company program, the Fair Oaks Avenue OSH store at 452 Fair Oaks Avenue has helped spruce up gardens at local schools, painted a Little League scoreboard in Arroyo Seco Park, met customers behind a display at the local farmers’ market and participated in South Pasadena’s 4th of July Parade on a few occasions over the years.
After he leaves OSH and finds a new job, Stanard would like to work 10 more years before entertaining the idea of retirement. Like others, it came as a complete surprise on Tuesday night when he received a phone call from his store manager telling him that Orchard Supply Hardware is shutting its doors.
“There will no longer be an OSH and that makes me sad,” said Stanard. “I put my heart and soul into this place. Our employees are trying to pick each other up because we’re all in the same boat. We’re all going to be losing our jobs soon.”
All the remaining OSH stores in California, Florida and Oregon are going out of business in the next 10 to 15 weeks, according to Stanard.
Liquidation sale signs were posted Wednesday night and the sale on merchandise began when stores opened early Thursday morning. “We’re going to sell everything in the building at a percentage off until it’s all gone,” explained Stanard. “There will be no new inventory coming in.”
OSH was forced to close many of its locations in 2011 when it filed for bankruptcy. Lowe’s then acquired the chain in 2013. Despite massive renovations at most of its stores, officials say sales have dipped since the acquisition.
“I’m pretty sad today,” said Stanard in a somber tone, looking around the store’s massive surroundings. “I’m going to miss this place.”
Not only is it a sad day for OSH, Steveo – yes, that’s his real name – says it’s a sad day for the city. “They’re losing something, too, the only hardware store in South Pasadena,” he said, when asked if he had anything to share with the store’s loyal and strong customer base. “I want to thank everyone for their support. People have showed us a lot of love. I’ll be shopping here in town, so don’t be shy in coming up and saying hello.”