To be America’s neighborhood hardware and garden store focused on paint, repair, and the backyard.
1931 was a year of hard times for farmers in San José, California. Two years of drought and crop failures plus the Great Depression brought plenty of economic woe. Thirty farmers, mostly prune growers, considered buying their farm supplies as a cooperative. Each farmer put up $30 and Orchard Supply was born.
On March 1, 1931 a rented warehouse on Bassett Street served as the first location for Orchard. It was stocked with picking pails, orchard ladders, sprays, fertilizers and other farming supplies. Non-farmers recognized Orchard Supply as a good place to shop and get helpful advice.
Business grew and Orchard Supply moved to a larger location on 44 Vine Street. In addition to farm supplies, the new store location brought in hardware, gardening supplies, housewares and homewares. Again, business flourished and in 1946, a new store was built at 720 West San Carlos Street. The newest location featured a rail-served warehouse and 26,000 square feet of retail space. By this time the purchasing cooperative had almost 2,000 members and Orchard Supply was recognized as a leading hardware store in San José.
In the 1950’s the electronics industry boomed and Santa Clara Valley saw thousands of new homeowners. Orchards became residential areas and many farmers retired. Orchard Supply was still a popular shopping place, but no longer qualified as a cooperative. A decision was made to remain in the retail business as Orchard Supply Hardware.
In 1962, Albert B. Smith became president of Orchard Supply Hardware. Under his direction Orchard Supply Hardware grew with branch stores being established throughout the county. In 1973, the Capitola store became the first out-of-county location. In the mid 1970’s, a nineteen acre warehouse and office complex in San José was purchased from Sunsweet Growers to serve as a distribution center for all Orchard stores. Fondly called the "Prune Palace," it served Orchard Supply Hardware well up to 1992, when a new distribution center was opened in the central California community of Tracy.
The concepts that made Orchard Supply Hardware a successful hardware retailer continue. With over 45,000 items, modern, easy-to-shop stores and acclaimed customer service, Orchard Supply Hardware maintains the same simple retail philosophy developed long ago, "Take good care of our customers and they will take good care of you."
Today, Orchard is a thriving retail hardware company with more than 80 stores located throughout California and Oregon. In September, 2013 the company was acquired by home improvement retailer Lowe’s, but remains a separate business unit. Also in that year, the company began systematically updating its vintage stores to a larger, modern format utilizing wider aisles, improved lighting, colorful signage and an enhanced selection of high-quality merchandise. An innovative service area called the Workbench gives customers access to trained professionals offering tool and knife sharpening, rescreening, lock re-keying, pipe threading; and conduit, chain, cable, pipe or rope cutting. Visit our stores to experience Orchard’s Legendary Customer Service.