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|Originally, home improvement retailer
Currently, online retailer
|Founded||1970 (as retail store, defunct 1999)
2006 (as online retailer)
|Headquarters||Original company in San Antonio, Texas
Current company in Edison, New Jersey
|Products||Home Improvement, Home and Garden|
Builders Square was a big-box home improvement retailer headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. A subsidiary of Kmart, its format was quite similar to The Home Depot, Menards and Lowe's with floor space of about 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2). In 1997, a Los Angeles leveraged buyout specialist acquired Builders Square and merged it with Hechinger but the new combined company failed to thrive and all remaining stores ceased business operations by the end of 1999.
Home Decor Products revived the Builders Square brand name in the mid-2000s as builderssquare.com, a comparison shopping website for home and garden products. It was headquartered in Edison, New Jersey. The website was abandoned in 2009.
The company was founded in February 1970 as Home Centers of America by Frank Denny, an executive who had recently been president of the home center subsidiary of W. R. Grace and Company. Somewhat unusually for the time, Home Centers of America was funded from the beginning as a public stock company. The company opened its first store in San Antonio soon after and eventually operated nine stores, all in Texas, and all operating as Home Pro Warehouse. Home Centers of America was sold to Kmart in July 1984 for $88.2 million (USD). The company and all stores were renamed Builders Square after acquisition, with Denny continuing as Builders Square company president for several years and overseeing company expansion. By 1997, the chain operated 162 stores in Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Puerto Rico. However, despite a $700 million investment by its parent company, high-profile sponsorships that included the Alamo Bowl, and celebrity spokespeople such as Darrell Waltrip and Tim Allen, the chain was not able to maintain profitability.
Hechinger and bankruptcy
In 1997, Kmart sold the Builders Square chain to Leonard Green & Partners for $10 million. Leonard Green had also recently acquired Hechinger and proceeded to merge Builders Square into Hechinger's Home Quarters division, and many Builders Square stores were rebranded as Home Quarters stores. Hechinger filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in June 1999. The reorganization effort resulted in closure of a large number of stores and the sale of others to The Home Depot. All remaining Builders Square stores were converted to the Home Quarters brand. However, the reorganization plan was not successful and Hechinger filed for Chapter 7 liquidation in September 1999. The six locations in Puerto Rico were bought out by Empresas Masso (Masso Enterprises), a local chain of home improvement stores, which in turn sold the stores to The Home Depot in 2000.
Builders Square re-emerged in 2006 as an online shopping comparison site focused exclusively on the home and garden market after the parent company, Home Decor Products, purchased rights to the Builders Square name. Home Decor Products filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in April 2009 and ceased operations, but former executives purchased all assets as a new virtual company, HomeClick LLC. They dropped the Builders Square brand and the now-dead builderssquare.com website.
- Ward's Business Directory of U.S. Private and Public Companies, 1995: Alphabetic listing, A-F, Volume 1. Gale Research Inc., 1995. 684. Retrieved on July 21, 2010. "Builders Square Inc. 9725 Datapoint Dr. San Antonio, TX 78229." ISBN 0-8103-8830-8, ISBN 978-0-8103-8830-7.
- "Builders Square Closes 3 Stores". Sun Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale, Florida. September 11, 1991. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- "Builders Square in Moore Plaza to close". Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Corpus Christi, Texas. June 12, 1999. Archived from the original on November 2, 2006. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- "Hechinger to close by year's end". Baltimore Sun. Baltimore, Maryland. September 10, 1999. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- "Frank Denny". Archived from the original on May 27, 2014. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- SEC News Digest (PDF) (83-64), U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, April 4, 1983, p. 4, retrieved March 26, 2012
- "Hechinger Files Revamping Plan That Calls for Closing 89 Stores". New York Times. New York. June 12, 1999. Retrieved March 26, 2012.