Fred Nichandros, who owns Workbench Hardware in Valley Plaza at Santa Rita Road and Valley Avenue, has signed a long-term lease to take over the 11,000-square-foot former Domus kitchen and home accessories store at 652 Main St.
To be called Workbench Main Street, the new store, which will open in early August, will be Nichandros' fourth hardware store, the other two located in Castro Valley and Patterson.
Nichandros said the downtown store will sell the usual assortment of hardware merchandise, from small nails to electric drills.
"But with more space, we'll also offer barbecue grills, lawn furniture, more paint and decorating supplies and much more," he said.
He's also been in touch with Margaret Smith, who owned and operated Domus until last Christmas, and he plans to stock many of the housewares and cookware that attracted shoppers to her store from throughout the Tri-Valley. Smith retired after the holidays and the Domus store has been empty ever since.
Workbench has 35 employees in its three stores and will add at least 10 more when the Main Street store opens. Nichandros said the building owner will put a sprinkler system in the building, which will take about 60 days, and then it will take another six weeks to have new fixtures installed.
Nichandros' father John started Workbench in Dublin in 1969 to provide supplies for his contracting business. He then switched to a career as a hardware store owner, moving the Dublin business to the Valley Plaza site in 1970. He still helps operate the store in Castro Valley.
Fred Nichandros said he grew up with hardware store blood in his veins, but tried his hand at computer programming in the early 1980s before joining his father's business full-time in 1985. He and his wife Anne live in Castro Valley and have a son, Eric, who is a junior at Castro Valley High School.
Nichandros said the Main Street store will stay open later than the one at Valley Plaza, at least until 8 p.m., and will be open seven days a week.