Valley Springs residents are grinning from ear to ear with the news that Sender’s Market is in escrow to buy the Valley Springs Home Center.

“I’m excited,” said 20-year Valley Springs resident Shawn Kuntz. “I’m all for somebody new coming in.”

If all goes according to plan, the new store will open the first week of October, according to Allen Sender. He and his parents, Erich and Paulie, own Sender’s Market in Mountain Ranch, which has developed a good reputation for its offerings of hardware, groceries, lumber and feed. The family has owned the market for 63 years and has more than 40 employees.

Ending a legacy that began in 1910, the owners of Valley Springs Home Center, Kevin Squire, his father Dana and their spouses, have decided to retire from the hardware business. As part of the decision, they chose to sell Valley Springs Home Center, which they purchased in 2004.

“We’re very happy to keep a hardware store in the community,” Squire said, adding other businesses offered to buy or lease the store, which they did not accept. “It will be a very smooth transition. They are good operators, and they have been doing it for a very long time. I think everything will be positive, and Allen and his dad will do a fine job.”

“We think it’s a good market to be in,” Allen Sender said. “We decided if we put the right people in there and have the right products at a fair price, the town will have a store it can be proud of, and it will work.”

Sender plans to convert the building to an Ace Hardware store and maintain a “high level of inventory.”

“There are already people working there, and we hope to at least maintain staffing levels,” Sender said, adding he plans to give all the employees an “opportunity” to keep their jobs.

The Valley Springs community, many of whom are committed to shopping locally, is eager to support the Sender family’s new venture.

“Right now I go all the way to Jackson because the store doesn’t carry what I need,” Kuntz said. “Their shelves have been very empty – stock has been low for quite some time. I’d rather shop local. I look forward to Sender’s coming in and being able to shop local again.”

Selling the building to a new hardware store and lumber yard operator wasn’t always part of the plan, Squire said.

“Originally, our plan was to lease the front building out and move to the back building,” he said. “We would go from 25,000 square feet to 12,000 square feet and open up a smaller neighborhood hardware store.

“We were going down that path when Allen Sender approached us in December of last year in regard to buying the business, two buildings and about 3.6 acres of the 10 acres we own in Valley Springs.

“We’re 30 of the 90 days into escrow, and everything is good so far,” Squire said. “It looks like on or around Aug. 4 they will be taking it over.”

Squires said he believes the Senders will close the store during the transition period.

“I met Allen, and his parents, and everything has been fine,” he said. “They are good people and it’s a pleasure to work with good people.”

While the Squires are getting out of the hardware business, the family is still interested in developing the remaining land at the corner of Highways 12 and 26.

“There are about 7 acres we would like to sell or lease on Highway 12, and hopefully that will bring more good businesses to Valley Springs,” he said. “With the county’s help and understanding I think we can really clean up the corner and help the community get more tax base.”

Up to four new businesses could open their doors on the property, Squire said, but he added it was too early to release what businesses might open up shop.

Until then, Squire is pleased the Valley Springs community will still have a hardware store in town.

“It’s going to bring more business; it’s going to bring more tax base,” he said. “I hope there will always be a place for people to shop locally instead of driving to Jackson or Stockton.”

Community members are happy to have the opportunity to spend money in their own towns.

“I try to stay out of the valley when I shop,” Kuntz said. “I’d rather shop locally and keep the money in the community.”

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