Frager’s Hardware Plans March Opening

Historic Hardware Store to Return to Pennsylvania Ave Location

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Concept design for 1101 Pennsylvania Avenue SE as presented to ANC 6B. Image: Hickok Cole Architects/Perseus Realty LLC

At the November 13th meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B, Frager’s Hardware Store Manager Aisha Bryant announced that the 98-year-old hardware store will move in March 2019 to a new 8,500 square foot space, returning to its original location at the intersection of 11th Street and 1115 Pennsylvania Avenue SE. 

The historic Pennsylvania Avenue Frager’s Hardware building at 1115 Pennsylvania Ave SE was destroyed by fire in June 2013. In 2014, the hardware store began operating from its current location in the blue building at 1323 E St. SE while owner John Weintraub looked for partnership to rebuild at the original site.

He found it in 2015 when DC-based developer Perseus Realty bought the Pennsylvania Avenue building and lot and began planning the mixed-use development, with Frager’s signed to a 25-year-lease on the main floor. Ground broke on the project in May 2017.

Two months later, Weintraub sold the historic hardware store to Gina Schaefer and Marc Friedman, the husband-and-wife team behind the 12 Ace Hardware locations known collectively as ‘A Few Cool Hardware Stores.’

Penn Eleven (1101 Pennsylvania Ave SE), the original site of Frager’s Hardware photographed Nov. 14 as it nears completion.

The hardware store will occupy 9,500 square feet in the new development, including 1,000 square feet outdoor retail. Schaefer has said that this outdoor retail will operate in addition to the Frager’s Garden Center that opened in April of this year behind the building at 1123-1129 Pennsylvania Ave SE. 

Product Knowledge Stays the Same

At the ANC meeting, Store Manager Bryant noted the new store will operate out of new digs and under new management, but would be the same as the historic Frager’s in fundamental ways. “With any change in ownership, there is a change in culture,” she said, noting that some of the faces at the hardware store might be different, but that customers could still expect excellent customer service and employees with the product knowledge customers have come to expect from Frager’s.

Bryant said that under the ownership of Schaefer and Friedman, the store is a co-operative. “It is not corporate-run, just because we have ACE on the front door. It is considered a co-op,” she said. “Of the products we offer in the store, 60% of those products come from ACE, and the other 40 percent come from local, for the most part made-in-DC, vendors.”

Trees arrive at the Frager’s Garden Center, in the lot behind 1123-29 Pennsylvania Ave SE. 1200 more are expected Friday.
Linda straightens holiday product at the Frager’s Garden Center as the store opens Wednesday.

Striking a holiday note, Bryant announced that as of this week the Pennsylvania Avenue garden center has been converted into a tree lot, with 600 trees having been received Monday and another 1200 expected on Friday. The garden center will serve all Christmas needs, including trees, stands, lights and wreathes.

‘Whatever You Can’t Find Anywhere Else, You Can Find at Frager’s’

Commissioner Chander Jayaraman (6B08) asked that Bryant ensure that products particular to historic homes remain available at the store, “because there’s a lot of unique things that I know, whatever you can’t find anywhere else, you can usually find at Frager’s, and I would love for that tradition to continue.”

Commissioner Daniel Ridge (6B09) asked that Frager’s consider providing returnable carts, so that nearby customers could bring larger items home without cars.

Bryant encouraged residents to contact her with concerns, questions and product requests.  She said she is typically available Sunday to Thursday at the E Street store, or she can be reached by email at ABryant@AceHardwareDC.com