William B. “Tony” Anthony III has turned a bad situation into an opportunity.
Anthony learned in late December that he would lose his job at Pleasants Hardware’s flagship store on West Broad Street near the Fan District when that location closed Feb. 20. He had worked at the store for more than 20 years in the decorative hardware department, the part of the store that sold doorknobs, locks, and door and cabinet hardware.
“A calm came over me. I decided there was an opportunity out there,” Anthony said when he learned about the store closing. “There was no other store in the city or the surrounding area that had the selection and assortment that we did. I told (my wife) that I wasn’t going to work for anyone else.” He convinced three fellow employees — and found two financial partners — to join him in starting a new business that would carry the large assortment of knobs, cabinetry and accessories and provide the locksmith services that Pleasants’ flagship store had.
Plus, they had the knowledge — one of his co-workers had been at the store for 36 years, another worked there for more than 30 years, and the third had been there for more than a decade.
Two weeks ago, he officially opened Anthony’s Decorative Hardware LLC showroom at 2211 Tomlynn St.
“It was a quick transition,” he said. “We all loved the business and love our customer base. We saw and knew there was a need.”
Joining him are Bill Hall, a locksmith who handles making new keys and takes care of all the master keys on file for property management firms. Millard Roach used to run the builder’s sales department at the flagship Pleasants before retiring and working part time at the store. And Ed Noel, who starts in April, had been at Pleasants for 10 years.
Anthony found two financial partners for the new business — Bryan Martin, who owns Coastal Hardware in Virginia Beach, and Mark Ridgeway, also of Virginia Beach. They each own 20 percent of the company, with Anthony owning the remaining.
The 2,000-square-foot showroom has many of the product displays and equipment that had been used at the flagship Pleasants.
The new business also was able to continue handling the master key file for dozen of apartment property management firms.
“When (Pleasants) announced the closing, there were a lot of property management firms that needed to find someone to be able to handle rekeying locks for their apartments,” Anthony said. “We were able to get a lot of that business and accommodate them here.”
Many of Anthony’s Decorative Hardware’s customers are builders, interior designers, architects or property management firms, he said.
Pleasants allowed Anthony and his team to pass out business cards for the new company in the weeks before that store closed.
“That helped a lot so builders and contractors knew where we were going — that we were going to live on.”