Owner of Frager’s Hardware Gina Schaefer confirmed Tuesday that she had signed a ten-year lease with Vantage Realty to open a garden center at 1123 Pennsylvania Ave SE, currently the site of Anh-Dào Vietnamese Restaurant.
While Schaefer hopes to be open for business selling garden supplies in the rear lot of the building sometime in April “if the permit and weather gods allow,” she expects that renovations to convert the restaurant into an interior garden center will take a few additional months.
The 900 square foot outdoor space will offer garden supplies, including live plants, bagged merchandise such as soil and fertilizer, large planting pots and grills and patio furniture. When complete, the interior space will offer garden tools, and other planting needs.
The garden center will be located only 100 feet from the original Frager’s Hardware building at 1115 Pennsylvania Ave SE, which was built in 1920 and destroyed by fire in 2013. Schaefer’s group of local Ace Hardware stores, known as A Few Cool Hardware Stores (AFCHS) purchased Frager’s in May 2017.
The last outdoor gardening center was located next to the current Frager’s Hardware location at 1323 E Street SE, but that lease expired at the end of Dec 2017. Schaefer said that AFCHS wanted to find a new location for the gardening center as soon as possible.
“It’s a wonderful part of the community, and a nice part of our revenue stream,” she said. “We wanted to be continuous in our operation.”
Mahmoud Abdalla and Ken Noroozi say they had considered redeveloping the property at 1123-1129 Pennsylvania into mixed-use condominiums, but that their vision was to deliver something unique to the neighborhood and to attract a number of desirable local businesses to serve the neighbors. In 2017, CEO Noroozi signed a lease for the corner space (1120 Pennsylvania Ave SE) to establish a café that serves authentic Ethiopian coffee. Hype Café is opening its doors to the city in March, and Schaefer said that she and the staff are pleased to hear the news and excited to have the café as neighbors.
Schaefer said that the hardware store was lucky to obtain a lease at a site so close to the site of the original and future Frager’s Hardware Store at 1115 Pennsylvania Ave SE, currently being rebuilt after a devastating June 2013 fire.
That new building will include four stories above ground floor retail with 40-50 two- and three-bedroom luxury condominium units, the new 8,500 square foot Frager’s Hardware store with 1,000 square feet outdoor garden center, and two other retail spaces for retail.
Schaefer says that the garden center will continue to operate once the rebuild is complete, which according to current projections is expected to happen sometime in 2019. Once the new building and the 1000 square feet of outdoor space at that site are opened, sales of patio furniture and outdoor grills are expected to move to the Frager’s Hardware at 1115 Pennsylvania Ave, and the space at 1123 Pennsylvania will continue to provide outdoor space for plants and gardening equipment.