After less than two years of operation at the Metro 580 shopping center, the Pleasanton Orchard Supply Hardware will be closing down along with all other OSH locations across the country.
On Wednesday, officials from Lowe’s -- the parent company of OSH -- announced that it would be closing down all 99 Orchard Supply Hardware stores, which are located in California, Oregon and Florida, as well as the distribution facility that services those stores, by the end of the year.
Pleasanton OSH assistant store manager Andres Cisneros said his store was told the day before the official announcement was made. At the time he was very surprised to hear the news, but in hindsight acknowledged that the stores closing was not totally unforeseen.
“On Tuesday we had an HR rep from Lowe’s come in and let us know. We got together and he told us what the news was and told us that we needed to close the store down immediately,” he said. “It's unfortunate but you know there are always signs here and there.”
Cisneros added that he was giving orientation to a new employee before hearing about his store's impending closure.
“While it was a necessary business decision to exit Orchard Supply Hardware, decisions that impact our people are never easy. We will be providing outplacement services for impacted associates, and they will be given priority status if they choose to apply for other Lowe’s positions,” Marvin R. Ellison, Lowe’s president and CEO, said in a statement.
Lowe’s purchased the hardware chain in 2013, after OSH filed for bankruptcy. Ellison did not specify the exact rationale for closing the stores but the company's quarterly report did promise to update the public on the strategy at the upcoming analyst and investor conference in December.
According to Lowe’s quarterly report, the decision to close OSH is expected to cost the company $390 million to $475 million in additional closing costs for the 2018 fiscal year. It is also expected to decrease operating income by 180 basis points in the short term.
“Exiting Orchard Supply Hardware and rationalizing inventory are the driving force behind the changes to Lowe’s business outlook,” Ellison continued.
Three OSH locations reside in the Tri-Valley (San Ramon and Livermore are the others). Each employs approximately 40 associates and some employees will be given the chance to work for Lowe's, but Cisneros says many will not take the offer.
“A lot of people aren't very enthused with the company, so some people will probably go their different ways,” he said, adding that stores are expecting to become more short handed as employees leave for new opportunities.
Previously located in Dublin, the Pleasanton location has been at its current spot since February 2017. The original staff was mainly composed of associates from Dublin -- Cisneros himself worked at the San Ramon location before transferring several months ago.
Cisneros believes internet shopping is at least one of the factors leading to the stores closure, and laments the loss of customer service this will mean for consumers.
“It's unfortunate, this is just one of those companies that we pride ourselves on customer service and unfortunately now it's just going to be some mom-and-pop hardware stores and that is it. With Amazon around and the internet who knows how long those will last,” Cisneros said.
OSH stores across the country have already begun the process of closing down their locations. Before the chains inevitable end, all locations will be hosting a going out of business sale, with many already announcing deals.