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New York Mills Hardware Hank is heading out to the highway

Hardware Hank will be moving from its downtown New York Mills location into a new 12,000 square foot addition being built onto Cenex Convenience Store, near Highway 10. Cenex and Hardware Hank are both part of Coop Services. Connie Vandermay/FOCUS1 / 2
Coop Services has had a business in downtown NY Mills since 1924. Connie Vandermay/FOCUS2 / 2

By the end of the year, Hardware Hank will move from downtown New York Mills to a new location next to the Cenex convenience store near Highway 10.

Both Cenex and Hardware Hank are part of Coop Services, which began in 1924. Through the past 88 years, Coop Services has been part of the NY Mills community, operating various businesses in its downtown location, including grocery, clothing and finally hardware.

But despite the wide selection of merchandise at the downtown location, on an average day, Cenex gets about 10 times the number of customers that Hardware Hank gets.

After six or seven years of planning, Hardware Hank decided it was time to take the store to the customers, with a 12,000 square foot addition to the east side of Cenex - 10,000 for retail and 2,000 for office space.

In an interview last week, General Manager Ken Peltier said he and his staff are, "really excited by the opportunity to get out there."

The store is hoping to make its big move by Thanksgiving, transferring all the merchandise to the new location before the holiday shopping season arrives.

By the end of 2012, Coop Services will sell its downtown building. Another local business, as yet unidentified, has verbally agreed to purchase it, with closing dates scheduled for Dec. 31.

With this change, Hardware Hank will be able to expand its business hours to match the hours of the convenience store: 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

With the new building, the retail space will be 3,000 square feet bigger than the current downtown location, which means an expansion of merchandise.

Future plans include offering live bait and rental equipment. They also hope to expand on the lawn and garden line, and expand on the service center for Husqvarna equipment.

The new store will have three checkout counters; shoppers can "buy gas, tobacco and wing nuts" all at the same time, Peltier said.

Employment may increase in the future, too. Currently, between Hardware Hank and Cenex, Coop Services employs 22 full and part-time employees. If things go as planned, additional store clerks may be necessary.