The Circuit Avenue building that has harbored Phillips Hardware for nearly a century is up for sale, for $2.9 million. However, owners Donna Leon and Susan Phillips have decided they will retain the business. Leon and Phillips are sisters who took over the business from their parents.
“We’re selling the building, not the business,” Phillips said. She hopes whoever buys the building would allow the hardware store to continue operating.
“We wouldn’t need as much room as we have now,” Phillips said.
Leon and Phillips have prior Martha’s Vineyard Commission approval to demolish the building and build up to eight top-of-the-shop rental units.
The sisters ran into a few challenges in their quest to redo the building, not the least of which was the pandemic. But the main driver of the decision to sell, Phillips said, was that they don’t wield the hefty finances necessary to execute the project.
“We’re just little guys,” Phillips said.
The building is drawing buyer attention. “From what my Realtor says, there’s a few people that are interested,” Phillips said.
The sisters’ grandfather started in the hardware store in 1928.
Phillips said she has worked in the store since she was little. “My parents lived above the store when my sister was born, so she’s the last person who lived above the store in my family,” Phillips said. The sisters’ father, Bob, passed away, but their mother, Pauline, still lives in Oak Bluffs.
For posterity, the sisters are seeking stories and remembrances from customers and employees over the years, and asked folks to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.