NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. - Aubuchon Hardware on the corner of Cross and Church streets, which has been the go-to store for home and garden staples in Whitinsville for more than 70 years, unexpectedly closed its doors on Monday.
The Aubuchon chain was founded by William E. Aubuchon in 1908 when he opened his first store in Fitchburg. The company operates more than 125 neighborhood hardware stores throughout New England and New York in addition to HardwareStore.com.
It is the oldest family owned and managed chain of hardware stores in America, according to the company's website. The chief operating officer is William Aubuchon who was not available yesterday to talk to a reporter. Calls were referred to the company’s human services director have not yet been return.
Employees at the Whitinsville store moved inventory from the store into waiting trucks Tuesday morning, but would not talk to reporters.
Signs on store doors and windows say: "With much regret, we announce the closing of this store location. For the past 70 years, it has been our pleasure to serve the hardware needs of the town of Whitinsville and its surrounding towns."
The sign said stores in Webster and Southbridge will remain open.
Another sign notes the building is for sale.
“The entire Valley business community is sad and frankly shocked to learn of the abrupt closing of the Whitinsville Aubuchon store,’’ said Jeannie Hebert, president and chief executive officer of the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Echoing many statements made as residents learned of the closing, she said, “I know we at the chamber relied on that store not only for purchases but advice from the store clerks on what item was needed to do the job right. It was wonderful to have a convenient neighborhood hardware store where we could easily find whatever we needed from employees who had become friends. This will certainly change the face of Church Street.”