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Published: Thursday, 11/8/2007

Janneys pack it in after 80 years in west Toledo

Tim Janney, left, with his father, Joe, and brother Doug, had hoped to move the hardware business.
Tim Janney, left, with his father, Joe, and brother Doug, had hoped to move the hardware business.
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After 80 years and three generations of Janneys, the hardware store with the upside-down sign is closing.

Janney s Ace Hardware, which has occupied the southwest corner at Secor and Alexis roads since 1927, is going out of business to make way for a drugstore.

We will be selling through at least this weekend, and maybe through the middle of next week, said Tim Janney, general manager. By Thanksgiving Day, we will be closed.

Known for the inverted sign, the product of a 1970s advertising gimmick, the store will be torn down and replaced by a Rite Aid.

The drugstore chain, which bought the property in August for $3.3 million, will compete with the Walgreens across Alexis.

The business president, Doug Janney, 58, decided to retire, but his brother, Tim, 56, wanted to continue. Tim had hoped to move the business several blocks into vacant space in a shopping plaza, but was unable to reach a lease agreement.

The store s 20 employees received a letter from the owners yesterday informing them of the decision.

Judy Todd, the store s bookkeeper and a Janney employee since 1972, said, This has been so much a part of our lives. It s just a sad moment for all of us.

Over the years, the store, which joined the Ace Hardware alliance in 1957, expanded five times.

It is known for carrying hard-to-find nuts, bolts, and washers, plumbing parts, and specialty electrical devices. It also offers window and screen repair.

The big stores certainly have taken a chunk out of our business, Mr. Janney said. But they don t do what we do and they don t serve the customer the way we do.

The business roots date back to 1918, when J. Smith Janney and his brother, Lee, opened a general store at Alexis and Gay Street in an area then known as Trilby.

J. Smith Janney moved the hardware operations in 1927 to the nearby Secor site.

His sons, Joe and Ulis, joined the business after World War II. Tim and his brother, Doug, went to work with their father, Joe, after pursuing other interests.

The Janneys opened an outlet in 1981 at Southland Shopping Center in south Toledo in 1980. The store was destroyed in a $1 million fire the next year and didn t reopen.

Tim Janney will continue a lawnmower and small-engine repair service nearby on Secor, where he will sell new lawnmowers, snow throwers, and chainsaws and will offer window and screen repair.

Contact Mark Reiter at markreiter@theblade.com or 419-724-6096.

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