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Serving California Since 1931!
"Take good care of our customers and they will take good care of us."
-Words of our founders in 1931 and our motto today!
1931 was a year of hard times for farmers in San Jose, 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 as a good place to shop and get helpful advice.
Business grew and Orchard 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 was recognized as a leading hardware store in San Jose.
In the ‘50'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 OSH. Under his direction OSH grew with branch stores being established throughout the county. In 1973, the Capitola store became the first out-of-county location. In the mid ‘70's, a nineteen acre warehouse and office complex in San Jose was purchased from Sunsweet Growers to serve as a distribution center for all OSH stores. Fondly called the "Prune Palace", it served OSH well up to 1992, when a new distribution center was opened in the central California community of Tracy.
The concepts that made OSH a successful hardware retailer continue today. With over 45,000 items, modern, easy-to-shop stores and acclaimed customer service, OSH still serves California with the same simple retail philosophy developed long ago, "Take good care of our customers and they will take good care of you."
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