In years past, HRK variety store has been open seven days a week between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but only on weekends the rest of the year. That changed Thursday, as HRK started a trial run of being open daily.
HRK owner Bernice Beach decided to try daily hours after Flint Hills Building Supply closed earlier this year. Beach was also influenced by the closure of the Duckwall store in January 2011. With those closures, there was a need that wasn’t being met.
“We’re trying to fill that need for the community so people don’t have to go out of town to buy stuff,” store operator Linda Lovelady said.
HRK has always carried tools in its varied selection, but they have recently been adding plumbing items, nails, and screws to the stock. Other recent additions in preparation for daily store hours have included baby supplies and some hygiene products.
HRK’s stock runs the gamut from fishing and camping supplies to furniture. Again, businesses closing doors in Marion County created an opportunity for HRK. The store has always devoted about one-third of its floor space to furniture, beds, and box-springs, but following a move by Baker Furniture and closure of Hillsboro Furniture, HRK has the largest furniture selection in the county.
Early results of the open-daily trial were promising, as Lovelady had a steady stream of customers Thursday morning.
“I just hope it can continue, and if Marion County can support us, we can do this into the new year,” she said.
HRK’s selection can be decidedly eclectic, partly because of its business plan. Lovelady said competitive pricing is one of her biggest goals. So, HRK buys closeout merchandise from other retailers at prices below what they would pay wholesale. Sometimes this allows the store to sell items at prices below what chain stores charge.
One current example is artificial Christmas trees. While at a chain retailer in Salina — not everything is available in Marion County, Lovelady conceded — she saw trees that cost 50 and 67 percent more than she priced them at HRK, for the exact same brand and style.
Sometimes that bargain-hunting philosophy gets Lovelady items that she doesn’t know if anyone will buy, but customers have surprised her more than once. The strangest items customers have quickly scooped up were prank “fart machines” and motion-activated monkeys, she said.
HRK is now open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.