Handy Hardware exterior

The family wealth management firm Arlington Family Offices, which has offices in Franklin and Birmingham, recently purchased the Handy Hardware building and another property on Columbia Avenue in downtown Franklin for $4.8 million. 

The Brentwood real estate firm NAI Nashville Stanton Group, which represented the buyer in the transaction, will work with Arlington Family Offices to redevelop the properties in a way that will complement the character of downtown. A press release describes Arlington Family Offices as an “established group with an eye for historic preservation.”

“We have already begun the research and planning and hope to announce our plans in the near future,” NAI Nashville Stanton Group CEO Davin McClendon said, according to the press release.

The owners of Handy Hardware sold their building at 731 Columbia Ave., as well as some adjacent buildings, for $4.8 million.

Owners Andy and Donna Willoughby announced in November 2019 that they were closing the store. The hardware store had been operating at 731 Columbia Ave. in downtown Franklin for nearly 50 years. 

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and I’m just looking for a new opportunity, a new page in my life,” Andy Willoughby told the Home Page last fall.

Willoughby started working at the store in 1989. His father, the late Dr. Joseph Willoughby, along with some business partners, opened the store in 1971. 

Handy Hardware was in the process of liquidating its inventory and shutting down when public health officials detected the first cases of the coronavirus in Williamson County. The store closed its doors to the public in mid-March, but continued to sell some of the store’s last items by appointment.

In addition to the hardware store, the building at 731 Columbia Avenue houses Triple Crown Bakery and the signage company Signs First. The sale also includes the Auto Doctor building at 805 Columbia Ave.

Triple Crown Bakery was already in the process of moving to a larger location in the former Green Realty house on Fourth Avenue North. Signs First will stay in the building until at least the end of its current lease. The new owners are working out arrangements that would allow other tenants to stay until construction begins in 2021. 

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