WATERTOWN — The Noble Ace Hardware store on State Street soon will be changing hands.
Clark Porter of Gouverneur, who owns the Ace Hardware stores in Gouverneur and DeKalb Junction, is in the process of buying the franchise at 533 State St. from current owner Ken Noble.
The purchase price will be $1.6 million, according to the Watertown Local Development Corp., also known as the Watertown Trust.
Mr. Noble, 63, who owns Ace Hardware stores in Johnstown and South Glen Falls, said he put the Watertown franchise on the market about a year ago while he’s looking to retire.
“It’s such a solid business,” Mr. Porter said, “with strong ties to the local area and the neighborhood.”
He doesn’t plan major changes, except maybe adding a lawn and garden and barbecue department in a building now used for storage. He also intends to keep the current staff because of their longtime experience with the current business.
Mr. Noble said that Ace Hardware stores — and hardware stores in general are doing well — during the coronavirus because they are essential businesses.
The Ace Hardware corporation looks for other franchisees who might be interested in adding to their businesses before putting them on the outside market.
“I wasn’t actively looking to buy,” before he heard that the Watertown business was up for sale.
To help finance the deal, the Watertown Trust’s board approved a $480,000, 10-year loan for the mortgage of the property and another $80,000 for fixtures and furniture. Community Bank is the commercial lender involved in the deal.
He’s impressed Watertown and particularly improvements in Public Square in recent years.
“It’s an up and coming area,” he said. “It’s really nice.”
Mr. Noble, who’s been involved with Ace Hardware for about 30 years, has owned the Watertown franchise since the early 2000s.
The store employs 13 workers, with plans to add seven more over the next three years.