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2000-12-08
Irvine, CA. Home Base Nailed Shut

"Would you like Blue or Orange?" That's the home improvement choice facing consumers, as yet another regional building supply store bites the dust. Home Base, which does (did) business in 9 western states, announced this week that over the next 12 months it will shut down 22 stores and convert the other 67 existing stores to "Home2Home" home furnishing stores. In other words, Home Depot and Lowe's have deprived Home Base of the oxygen it needed to breath in the home improvement market, and now the lid is nailed shut. Most of the stores going down are in California. There are already 5 Home2Home stores, and 62 more will be converted from Home Base.The company becomes just another casualty in a long line of regional chain stores that have gone stiff as a board, such as Hechinger's and Grossman's in eastern markets. So do you want Blue Lowe's, or Orange Home Depot? It's enough to make you want to put off that remodeling project.

What you can do: I recently quoted Home Depot as saying they don't want to see small local businesses disappear. "That's never our intention," said Home Depot spokesman Jerry Shields. "If they are willing, we invite them to come in and we tell them how to compete with us." The Chairman of Home Base says his company made "a valiant effort" to hold its ground in the "fiercely competitive" home improvment market. One can only surmise what would have happened if Home Base had gone to Home Depot for classes in how to compete. They might have ended up like S&S Hardware in Buford, PA, which recently told the Wall St. Journal they survived a Home Depot and Lowe's by offering lawnmower repairs and attentive service. So far they've survived 2 years by locating a niche. Home Base is surviving the same way: getting out of home improvement, and into furniture. Niche or ditch -- that's what's left for marginalized businesses as the big chains wrap up the market.










 
 
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