PORTSMOUTH — Harbor Freight Tools is planning to open a new store in the retail space formerly occupied by Philbrick’s Fresh Market.

The national tool chain headquartered in Calabasas, Calif., confirmed Monday that it plans to take over the spot at 775 Lafayette Road early next year.

This will be the seventh New Hampshire location for Harbor Freight, which bills itself as “America’s leading retailer of quality tools at the lowest prices.”

The company is planning a soft opening on Jan. 28 with a grand opening on Feb. 15, but the dates are tentative and could change, according to Lisa Hartley, a company spokesman.

The 23,000-square-foot store will feature a selection of tools and accessories including power tools, outdoor power equipment, generators, welding supplies, shop equipment and hand tools.

“We’re currently hiring a number of full- and part-time positions for our new Portsmouth store, including sales and stocking associates, supervisors and managers,” said Hartley, who encouraged job seekers to apply on the company’s website.

The family-owned company started in southern California in 1977 and now has more than 1,000 stores in the United States and 20,000 employees.

In New Hampshire, Harbor Freight Tools has stores in Amherst, Claremont, Keene, Littleton, Manchester and Salem.

Philbrick’s Fresh Market closed in June after 15 years at the Portsmouth location, displacing 26 workers. Philbrick’s also had a North Hampton store, which closed in January after eight years, impacting 20 employees.

Market owner Phil Philbrick blamed the closure on tough business conditions for a store that was part of the growing organic, natural and local food movements.

“Portsmouth tax increases are tough, but real issues are increased competition, making it very difficult for the independent owner-operator to survive,” he said at the time, saying that business had become more difficult in recent years.


Saturday, December 14, 2019