COOS BAY — A family-owned hardware store is coming to town.

Gary and Beverly Kalsbeek, along with their children and their spouses, Marty (Lisa) Kalsbeek and Keri (Terry) Grafe, own the new Ace Hardware store, Hardware Express, which is preparing to open on U.S. Highway 101 on Dec. 1.

It's one of the first things drivers will see as they swing past the "Welcome to Coos Bay" sign heading south into town. The hardware store is in the building that used to house Coos ATV & Cycle at 2273 Bayshore Drive.

"Most businesses want to be on the highest traffic lane as possible, so on or very near the highway, Ocean Boulevard or Newmark is a preferable place," Coos Bay city planner Debbie Erler said. "It's going to be really cool when it's done."

Workers were lining shelves with tools, cleaning supplies and more this week, while others were setting up stands and moving pallets and boxes around the store. The store is humming but won't officially open until Dec. 1, Marty Kalsbeek hopes.

"We started putting fixtures up more than a week ago but the whole process started in May," he said. "The building was empty and available and right on the 101."

Manager Patrick Merrifield is moving here from Salem and said the 17,000-square-foot building will employ 16. The store will offer pipe threading and cutting, screen repair, glass cutting, rekeying and key fob and keymaking services, small tool rentals and Valspar and Ace paint lines.

In the future, Kalsbeek hopes to install a garden center.

"We're going to provide another option of services," Merrifield said.

Farr's True Value Hardware will be the store's direct competitor, Kalsbeek said.

"What we're going to come in and offer is all our hardware stuff you need for your home as well as a helpful center," he said.

Kalsbeek said the family owns three other Ace Hardware stores in the Redding, Calif. market.

"But the rest of us vacation here occasionally," he said. "It's a pretty, nice area."

The Ace Hardware corporation had identified Coos Bay as a place in need of this type of store, he said. The next closest Ace Hardware stores are Coquille Supply and Kel-Cee Ace Hardware in Reedsport.

One major task remains: overlaying and re-striping the parking lot.

Erler said only a parking permit still needs to be issued. The store is zoned as commercial-industrial, so retail sales are permitted.

"By making it all retail they increased the parking demand, so they're doing upgrades to the parking lot, adding some additional parking and paving some of the gravel area and adding landscaping," she said. "They are doing an interior remodel, too, because before it was partial retail, partial workshop and in the past it was a trucking workshop."

Reporter Chelsea Davis can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 239, or by email at chelsea.davis@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @ChelseaLeeDavis.

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