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Pagano’s Closing Central Avenue Location

South Shore Center store to remain open

Pagano’s has been a beloved neighborhood hardware store in Alameda since it opened its doors. The first family-owned shop on Lincoln Avenue was established in 1950 by Andy Pagano, who turned it from a coal and ice distribution business into a neighborhood hardware store.

Alameda Post - Classic Pagano's Hardware Mart logo

During the next decade, Pagano’s became the place to go for whatever you needed, including fix-it advice. The store eventually grew and served customers not just from Alameda but from neighboring communities as well.

“No matter where someone lived, they considered Pagano’s Alameda hardware store to be right in their neighborhood,” the store’s page on the South Shore Center website states. “He wanted customers to find what they needed, ask whatever questions they may have, and leave the hardware store feeling that their time and money were well spent.”



Pagano’s opened a second store in South Shore Center in 2010 and then in 2015, after talks to secure a new lease for the Lincoln Avenue store fell through, the original store closed and moved to Neptune Plaza on Central Avenue.

Alameda Post - Pagano's Hardware Central Avenue location
Pagano’s Hardware at Neptune Plaza on Central Avenue is soon to close. Photo Kelsey Goeres.

Executive Director of the West Alameda Business Association Linda Asbury believes Andy Pagano accomplished his goal and then some.

“It’s been our go-to place for everything,” Asbury told the Alameda Post of the Central Avenue location. “I’ve gone in there as a woman who doesn’t even own a screwdriver. You walk in there and they’re so good. You say, ‘Here’s what I’m looking for,’ and they guide you. They’ve just been a great partner for all of the West End.”

Pagano’s CFO made decision based on three elements

Now, the business is consolidating and will close their Central Avenue location, making the South Shore Center store their only place of business. Pagano’s CFO Shenille McCoy tells the Post how she arrived at the difficult decision.

McCoy has been with the business since 2008. She told the Post that after the hardware store experienced a surge of business during the COVID-19 pandemic, “sales numbers started to fall in 2022.” McCoy believes three main elements resulted in the poor health of Pagano’s on Central Avenue.

First, the CFO said she suspects that a good chunk of Pagano’s customers at that location—many of whom were contractors—moved out of Alameda during the pandemic and the people who moved in don’t go to hardware stores. To address the suspected issue, McCoy increased advertising efforts for that store and brought in new, different products. But neither strategy paid off.

“That’s a big reason why we’re closing—we lost a lot of customers and I think that has to do with people moving out of the area,” said McCoy. “I think a lot of older, more seasoned customers moved away.”

Then, in the summer of 2022, the CFO said, several tenants left Neptune Plaza. When that happened, Pagano’s was hit with increased CAM charges (expenses a commercial property owner bills back to tenants in return for maintaining shared spaces, like garbage, landscaping, and security).

“When those businesses moved out, our CAM charges skyrocketed,” she said. “So when tenants move out of the shared space, we take the brunt of their CAM charges because we are a certain percentage of the shopping center. The landlord rectified their CAM charges for the previous year and for the current year and they sent us a huge bill for that.”

Pagano’s got through the end of the year and then January 2023 saw heavy rainfall, which meant an increase in home projects, which equated to more sales.

“We started with a negative number,” said McCoy, “We got through January, February, and March just barely. The rain definitely helped. But we still weren’t recouping from the previous year.”

Alameda Post - Pagano's Hardware Central Avenue location with closing sign
Pagano’s Hardware Central Avenue location with store closing sign. Photo Kelsey Goeres.

Catalytic converters and truck stolen

The third element McCoy believes was the nail in the Central location’s coffin was an increase in crime at the store and in that shopping center.

“In summer of 2022, we started to see horrible theft,” she said. “People just come in, take stuff, and leave. It was becoming a big problem.”

McCoy said the company truck’s catalytic converter was stolen three times. “Then the whole truck was stolen,” she said. “There’s a certain demographic that comes over to Pagano’s on Webster and if they pull up and hear any loud music or they see anything that makes them uncomfortable, they’re leaving,” she continued.

However, according to Alameda Police Department Crime Statistics, community calls of the nature mentioned by McCoy dropped from 2021 to 2022. In Neptune Plaza and along the surrounding streets, 10 suspicious circumstance and four disturbance calls were made in 2021 and one stolen vehicle, two suspicious circumstance, and two disturbance calls were made in 2022.

“There’s just nothing left in the penny jar.”
— Shenille McCoy, Pagano’s CFO

By the summer of 2023, the team had to decide if they were going to renew their lease. Around that time, a lot of customers came into Pagano’s on Central Avenue and asked if the store was going to close. They had heard rumors. At that time, with the support of the community, McCoy said she thought, “We’ll give it another shot. We got a new distributor—we were doing so bad financially that we lost our old distributor—we’ll get product in here the best we can and we’ll see how it goes.”

But the numbers never did go back up.

“I made the decision that we were going to have to close because we just couldn’t maintain,” McCoy said with a heaviness in her voice. “There’s nothing left that we can do. We’ve advertised, we’ve done super sales. We’ve done everything we could. And there’s just nothing left in the penny jar.”

Alameda Post - Pagano's Hardware South Shore location
Pagano’s Hardware at Alameda’s South Shore Center will soon be their only location. Photo Kelsey Goeres.

Hopes for consolidation

McCoy is hoping current Central Avenue customers will make the 2.2-mile drive to the South Shore location so they can keep that store open and healthy. “And then hopefully we can bring the [Central Avenue] employees over that we can afford,” she said.

“I want people to know that there’s some great employees at the Central location,” said McCoy. “And we have done everything possible to try and maintain this store. We have busted our tails to keep this store open. Even when it comes to personally investing in the store. But we just couldn’t. If people can support the store in South Shore, that means we can bring some of these great employees over. Because right now, we’re going to have to let them go until we see how South Shore does.”

Pagano’s on Central Avenue is expected to close mid-January.

Kelsey Goeres is a contributing writer for the Alameda Post. Contact her via [email protected]. Her writing is collected at AlamedaPost.com/Kelsey-Goeres.

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