After doing business in Greenwood for nearly 130 years, Hardware Distribution Warehouses Inc. — the outgrowth of Henderson & Baird Hardware — is closing its doors, putting 54 people out of work.
The employees were told last Friday that operations were closing, according to Jimmy Horne, HDW vice president of corporate communications. About half the employees were immediately laid off. Horne said that the workers were not given severance pay and that the company wouldn’t discuss whether benefits were extended beyond Jan. 4.
A staff of 28 temporarily remains in the warehouse on Sycamore Avenue in the Greenwood-Leflore Industrial Park, but their jobs will also be eliminated when the inventory is sold off, Horne said.
Mary Stinson, general manager of the Greenwood facility, said she’d been with the company for 45 years.
“It’s hard,” she said. “We’re like family.”
The 92,000-square-foot facility on 11.2 acres of land employed 100 people at the height of its operations, she said. Employees were aware the company was having problems recently, she said.
“People have understood that we were possibly going to close,” Stinson said. “We had opportunities to sell the company, and it didn’t go through, so we’re closing.”
“The company is going out of business,” Horne said. “As soon as everything is sold, the company will be closed.”
Horne said inventory will be sold to dealers and other distributors but will not be offered to the public.
HDW has also closed its headquarters operation and distribution center in Marshall, Texas, which employed 100 people in a 600,000-square-foot facility.
The company has been a wholesale distributor of hardware and building material products, serving 2,000 retailers across 11 states in the Mid-South.
HDW was formed in November 1994 from the merger of Henderson & Baird Co. in Greenwood, South States Inc. of Shreveport, Louisiana, and Higginbotham-Pearlstone Hardware Co. of Dallas. The merger was owned by an employee stock ownership plan and fueled by loans from local banks.
The company purchased the distribution center in Marshall in May 2017 and relocated the company headquarters to that facility. Less than two years later, citing “current economic circumstances in the hardware industry,” HDW will be out of business.
Besides its core business of hinges, turnbuckles, bushings and other hardware items, HDW expanded its services to demographics, marketing and advertising, retail pricing systems, store merchandising systems and retail layout/store design. Those businesses will also close.
The company had its own fleet of branded trucks to deliver goods to dealers. A number of idled trailers are located around its Greenwood property, but Horne said the trucks will no longer be on the road and “drivers have been released.”
“Our HDW family is saddened by this development,” the company said in a statement. “This company operated for over 129 years in Greenwood, and due to circumstances beyond any employee’s control, we are forced to close.
“Our hope is that all HDW employees will be able to move forward and find employment soon in the Greenwood area.”
Angela Curry, executive director of the Greenwood-Leflore-Carroll Economic Development Foundation, said that local leadership of the economic development group met with HDW representatives over the past two weeks but that the closing was the result of “some internal matters within HDW.”
Before it was merged into the HDW brand, Henderson & Baird Hardware was a well-known Greenwood company for more than 100 years. When the company located to a new three-story building on Market Street in 1904, it was the largest retail store building in the state. The building is now called the Bledsoe Building, home to Staplcotn.
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