By Tim Leeds
Murray Barkus said that while the name of Coast to Coast Total Hardware has changed, the only change for customers should be better inventory and hopefully better prices.
"Our name changed, our operation and services remain very similar," he said. "If there is any change it will hopefully be for the better."
Barkus, who owns the business with his wife, Delaine, has changed the name it has had for more than 50 years to Barkus HomeCenter. The new sign for the business went up on June 27.
He said Coast to Coast merged with True Value and Service Star about two-and-a-half years ago, and the plan at that time was to let each store keep its own name.
Barkus said last fall, when the board of directors decided to change the names of all the stores to True Value, he decided he would rather give the Havre store a local, permanent name. He said he doesn't want the board of directors giving the store several name changes over the years.
"When we moved over here (to the store's current 320 Second Ave. location) we were still Coast to Coast," Barkus said. "I said if we ever change that name it was going to be my name, and it will never change again."
He said they are still affiliated with the merged company and with both vendors they have been using, but now have the local name.
Barkus said the only major change that has come from the merger is a change in vendors, allowing them better control over day-to-day inventory and hopefully better prices. He said they can now maintain a better variety of stock in the store, and hopes to be able to maintain or even reduce prices on the items they carry.
Barkus said they pride themselves at the store for the selection of merchandise they carry already. He said they can often have some usually hard-to-find items on hand in the store.
He said picking up the Hardware Hank trade name of merchandise is one change from the merger. He said they will tie in to the Hardware Hank flyer program in their upcoming advertisements.
Barkus said they have been working the name into their advertisements for about three months now, and will continue to use the Coast to Coast name for about six more months. He said the store will be identified as Barkus HomeCenter, formerly Coast to Coast, until customers have more time to adjust to the change. He said he catches himself still calling it Coast to Coast at times.
"Being in business for 50 years, it's going to take some time for people not to say Coast to Coast,'" he said.
His parents bought the local store in 1948. His son, Jason, who is the manager, is the third generation to work the hardware store.