Pollock's Hardware Co-op

Pollock's Hardware has brass

While the global economic crisis is creating significant uncertainty in the world -- national economies require bailouts, multinational companies are going bankrupt and unemployment is on the rise -- residents of the North End continue to strengthen our local economy by supporting Pollock's Hardware Co-op.

In 2007, Pollock's Hardware Store, which was established in 1922, was forced to close its doors. The longtime owners wanted to retire and could not find a buyer for the store. Neighbourhood residents rallied to save the store. In 2008, they organized a consumer co-operative and raised funds to purchase the business.

Everyone knew this would be a David and Goliath venture. All the little hardware stores had closed in Winnipeg. The only other independent hardware store that remains open is Corydon Hardware in Fort Rouge.

For decades, the multinational big box stores have been successful in squeezing out all the little guys in many sectors of our economy.

On Sunday, Dec. 4, Pollock's Hardware Co-op is holding its third annual general meeting. Board directors are proud to update co-op members and the community at large about this great community success story.

We continue to prove to be the little hardware store that could on North Main Street.

Since we reopened three years ago, sales have doubled, and we anticipate by the end of next year, sales will have tripled the 2008 volume. Our business plan projected about 500 members in our first four years of operation. After three years, we have almost 2,000 members.

Initially, we could only afford to rent the hardware store building from the previous owners. This year we were able to purchase the building, in large part because of the financial success of the enterprise.

In 2009, we sold investment shares to our members who wanted to make a personal financial commitment to support the co-operative.

This month, we announced a five per cent dividend on these investment shares. Shareholders can cash the cheques or bring them into the store and apply the dividend to store purchases at a 10 per cent discount.

Over this past summer, the Pollock's Hardware Co-op entered into a joint venture with two other social enterprises, Building Urban Industries for Local Development (BUILD), an organization that trains people coming out of jail to do home energy efficiency retrofits, and Manitoba Green Retrofit, a green community economic development enterprise, to buy a large warehouse on North Main and convert it into a social enterprise centre.

This initiative brings together a group of social enterprises, non-profit organizations as well as artists to share the space and facilities for our mutual benefit.

Some of the other non-profit organizations that will be moving in are the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Local Investment Toward Employment (L.I.T.E.) and the Manitoba Community Economic Development Network.

The Pollock's Hardware Co-op will use the warehouse space to expand capacity to supply social enterprises and contractors with a broader scale of building materials.

The additional warehouse space will enable Pollock's existing retail store location to bulk purchase inventory and be more competitive in providing building materials to the construction industry.

In the fall, the board of directors announced the Pollock's Hardware Co-op will be issuing additional investment shares.

These shares are issued in minimum lots of $100 each and are eligible for a 30 per cent community economic development tax credit sponsored by the provincial government.

Subscribers will receive a five per cent dividend on these shares. The new shares will be used for financing a larger inventory and assisting in the purchasing of equipment for the new Social Enterprise Centre warehouse.

All Winnipeggers are invited to invest in our unique community-based enterprise. We are particularly interested in connecting with successful North End alumni -- to keep this North End institution going by purchasing a stake in the co-operative with these newly issued investment shares.

North Enders have a proud tradition of grit and determination.

Visit our website at www.pollockshardwarecoop.com or store at 1407 Main St., where you can think globally and act locally with your investing and purchasing power. Together, we can make a difference in Winnipeg's North End.

Mike Wolchock is the general manager

of the Pollock's Hardware Co-op.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 2, 2011 A11

Written by Allison Slessor — January 26, 2012

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.

Welcome To Pollock's Hardware Co-op

Pollock's Hardware Co-op is one of Winnipeg's oldest and coolest hardware stores. Established in 1922 we are one of the few independent hardware stores to make it through the boom of big box retail. While thriving in the North End we are committed to staying true to our community, our members, Winnipeg and beyond. Big box stores have nothing on the little hardware store that could! A big giant thank you to all our members, shareholders, our awesome board and devoted staff.... we wouldn't be here without you!