MOUNT VERNON – Harbor Freight, a discount tool and equipment retailer with over 1,000 stores nationwide, will open its Mount Vernon location this week.
The store will open Thursday at 8 a.m., Gorjian Acquisitions Leasing Director Jordan Gorjian said. New York-based Gorjian Acquisitions owns Valley Plaza Shopping Center on Coshocton Avenue, and Harbor Freight will fill the former Sears property, located at 993 Coshocton Ave.
Gorjian said the store will employ 25-35 people. It will offer a wide variety of tools and equipment – including auto parts, shop equipment, hand and air tools, power tools, outdoor products, welding equipment, and various related products – at discount prices.
Harbor Freight currently has 40 locations across Ohio, with the closest to Knox County being in Heath and Mansfield. Its Mount Vernon location will occupy the 16,000-square-foot storefront on the west end of Valley Plaza Shopping Center, which has been vacant since Sears moved out in 2018.
Harbor Freight will join Fiesta Mexicana, Dollar Tree, AT&T, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, Holiday Hair and Shoe Sensation in the shopping center, which was purchased by Gorjian Acquisitions in September 2019 for $19,126, according to the Knox County auditor’s website.
Gorjian Acquisitions specializes in revitalizing neglected shopping centers, Gorjian said in March, and it is hoping to do the same with Mount Vernon’s Valley Plaza.
“We take it, we do our work, and then obviously the property value increases,” Gorjian explained.
Gorjian said the real estate investment firm aims to instill a family-oriented feel with its shopping centers. That’s why it chose to sign Harbor Freight, which Gorjian believes will offer a different atmosphere than the 95,000-square-foot Lowe’s Home Improvement store across the street.
“I know there is a Lowe's nearby... it's probably a little more commercial. This is a smaller space, and it will have a little more of a local feel to it,” Gorjian said. “So it's probably gonna help the community and make it more of a space that will not be so commercialized.”
After months of negotiations, Gorjian Acquisitions finalized the lease with Harbor Freight on March 30. The company has spent the last four months renovating the storefront, installing a bright blue facade and re-paving a portion of the parking lot. The store has been filled with inventory in recent weeks, in preparation for Thursday's opening.
Knox County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Carol Grubaugh expects the community to embrace Harbor Freight.
"The Chamber is excited to welcome Harbor Freight to Knox County. It would be surprising if people were not familiar with their store since they have been in business since the 1970s," Grubaugh said in an email.
"It is a great store for the Do-It-Yourself person and creating jobs for our community. They are filling a vacant space and will be conveniently located on Coshocton Road. The Chamber is happy to see Harbor Freight choose Mount Vernon as a new location. The community will enjoy their variety of tools, lawn and garden, and other project driven merchandise."