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Princeton mayor, business partner buy hardware store

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PRINCETON — The deal to purchase the former Holt True Value Hardware store at 102 S. Center St. happened over an impromptu lunch.

Last October, local builder Donnie Allen was eating at Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes and Fries when Mayor Don Rains walked in looking for a seat. Allen invited the mayor, who’s also a builder and developer, to join him.

Conversation turned to the recently closed hardware store. Both men said they’d like to buy it but had other pending projects preventing them from making solo bids.

“That’s when I said to Don, ‘Why don’t we go in on it 50/50?’” Allen recalled. “He agreed.”

The Holt family had owned the hardware store for 114 years before it closed last fall.

“Princeton’s always had a hardware store,” said Rains.“We’re 13 miles from the nearest big-box store and we felt it would be a profitable business. It’s a good fit for me. Princeton’s going to experience 30 percent population growth in the next 10 years. This is a beautiful old building that just needs some tender loving care.”

Rains and Allen purchased the store on Dec. 14 and closed it for renovations on Feb. 14. They hope to open True Value Community Hardware in mid-April.

When the store reopens, it won’t look the same. The new owners have installed new walls, floors, ceilings, lighting fixtures and expanded the retail space by 30 percent.

“We’ll be able to double our inventory by tearing out two old offices and using what was the receiving building,” said Rains. “We are excited to be a part of the revitalization of downtown Princeton.”

Four companies have been involved in the renovation. They are Southeastern Interiors, T.L. Casey Construction, Wayne Electric and Creative Concrete Solutions.

Malton Aycock of Micro is the store manager.