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Home of Ace Hardware bought at auction by Friday Harbor's Danaher, Moorhouse
The building that's home to Ace Hardware in Friday Harbor is back under local ownership.
Located at the corner of Argyle Avenue and Nichols Street, the two-story building was purchased Oct. 9 by Lynne Danaher and David Moorhouse of Friday Harbor at a public auction on the steps of San Juan County Courthouse.
Nearly a dozen prospective buyers attended the auction, which had been postponed several times in the past two years after the former owner of the building, J. Phillip Miller of Camano Island, defaulted on a $670,000 loan and, faced with foreclosure, filed for bankruptcy protection. Miller also owed nearly $70,000 in interest and $40,000 in unpaid taxes, according to court documents.
The building was purchased for $904,384 by DanMoor, LLC, a partnership which Danaher and Moorhouse recently formed with direct intent of buying the property. It was valued at $1.5 million following its most recent appraisal.
Danaher said she and Moorhouse hope to have a new tenant by February, and that they plan for that tenant to operate a much-improved Ace-like hardware store on the ground floor. She said those currently employed by Ace have been assured of an opportunity to apply for positions when a new tenant takes over. She also expects a few more jobs will be created than exist at Ace today.
"It'll be better stocked and with an inventory that's much improved," Danaher said. "It's going to be a far better store, no ifs, ands or buts about it."
Miller bought the building on Argyle Avenue from the Nash brothers, Al, Kenneth and Charles, in 1978. It was affiliated as an Ace Hardware store even then, according to Al Nash.
Danaher is also owner of Carter House and of Churchill House, both of which are located on Argyle Avenue, about two blocks west of the Ace Hardware building. Both are remodeled and refurbished historic homes that today are home to an assortment of businesses.
In 2008, Danaher received a Village Stewardship Award from the San Juan Stewardship and San Juan Island Community Foundation in large part for restoration and the preservation of those two historic homes.
In addition to an establishing an improved hardware store on the ground floor, Danaher said roughly 4,500 square-feet on the second floor, which today remains unfinished, will be improved and possibly converted into potential office space or apartments.