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Due to what store owners say are growth and changing business opportunities, Hawk Hardware, the historic Tullahoma landmark located next to the railroad crossing at 102 E. Warren Street, is moving to Manchester.
According to owners Jim and Melissa Cartwright, the move, however, has nothing to do with competition from the “big box” retailers like Lowe’s and Home Depot, but instead due to growth, particularly in the store’s specialty automotive parts division.
“We were outgrowing the building there,” said owner Melissa Cartwright, “so we’re moving our hardware inventory to Eaton’s in Manchester and will be opening a separate location for our automotive division.”
She said the “big box” stores had not hurt her business at all, which is described on its website as “Your Old School Hardware Store.”
“We specialize in service and helping people find what they need to get their project done,” she said, “so we don’t really compete with the big boxes anyway.”
Jim Cartwright said the store is only closed temporarily while they move to Eaton’s at 1084 Murfreesboro Hwy. in Manchester, which they also own.
He added that the Hawk’s name will stay with the “hotrod” division and will be known as Hawk Hardware Speed Shop.
Although they have not determined a new location for the Speed Shop, Melissa said they are looking in Manchester now.
While they seemed excited to be growing and expanding, they also expressed sadness to leave the historic building, which they believed had been built in the early 1900’s as a wholesale grocery warehouse.
“I think the Hawks moved into it in the early 1960’s,” Jim Cartwright said. “But we’ve only been in there for six or seven years.”
Local hobbyists, home-renovators and auto enthusiasts have expressed disappointment that the store will be farther away.
“They carry things there that I can’t find anywhere else,” said The Tullahoma News sports editor Robert Holman, a race car owner from Moore County.
“When I’m preparing for a race and I need a certain bolt, for example, Hawk’s has things I can’t find at Lowe’s or AutoZone or anywhere, and their location can make a difference. I also recently found a part for my son’s racing cart that I couldn’t find elsewhere.”
While the historic building has recently been acquired by Builder’s Supply, located next-door on Southeast Atlantic Street, an employee there on Friday said it was “too early to know” exactly what the owners were planning to do with it, but would be probably be announcing something in the near future.