Pollock’s Hardware Co-op will keep its South Osborne location open — for now.
The Winnipeg hardware institution’s board voted Wednesday night to keep the shop in business, with one big caveat: it must stay in the black. After more than three years in business, the location turned its first profit in March after publicly appealing to its customers for support. It made $2,400 and is on track for its April budget of $1,000.
While grateful for the reprieve, store manager Mike Wolchock said he’s both optimistic and worried.
The Co-op had to sign another year lease, but Wolchock said the board plans to close up and sublet immediately if the shop’s profits drop. The secondary location is starting to be a financial burden on the Co-op’s flagship North End store, which has been an institution in the neighbourhood for decades.
"It would be easy for me to close the store and not have to deal with the grief, but I think it’s important," Wolchock said.
One of the benefits of the public appeal, he said, has been the opportunity to better connect with customers in South Osborne about what they actually want. Wolchock said the store has been very focused on selling what it has in stock, sometimes at the expense of ordering in products people ask about.
Wolchock was particularly impressed by the public’s support. While Pollock’s did a survey in 2016 showing its average customer was middle-aged, sales in South Osborne were bolstered by young people and young families.
As the urgency of the situation fades, Wolchock hopes customers will still come in to shop.
"The bottom line is, if people don’t shop, we don’t make money and we can’t be there anymore."