Harbor Freight on pace to open this month

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: A worker installs the sign for the new Harbor Freight Tools location in the Mt. Graham Shopping Center. The store is tentatively scheduled to open April 28.

Grand Opening event scheduled for May 16

By Jon Johnson


SAFFORD – The reinvention of the Mt. Graham Shopping Center continues in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic with work continuing on the new Harbor Freight Tools store and Jack in the Box restaurant. 

On Monday, the large sign for Harbor Freight was installed on its building as well as a store placard on the shopping center’s new sign along U.S. Highway 70 (Thatcher Boulevard). 

According to media planner Lisa Hartley, the 16,000-square-foot store will be the 26th Harbor Freight Tools in Arizona and is expected to tentatively open April 28, followed by a grand opening event May 16. The store will stock a full selection of tools and accessories in automotive, air and power tools, storage, outdoor power equipment, generators, welding supplies, shop equipment, hand tools, and more. All of Harbor Freight’s hand tools come with a lifetime warranty. 

Harbor Freight Tools is a family-owned company that started in Southern California in 1977 by then 17-year-old Eric Smidt, who began by transforming his father’s phone sales business into a mail-order company. Smidt then bypassed resellers and cut deals directly with factories to pass on savings to the customer, according to Hartley.

The company opened its first store in 1980 and now has more than 1,000 stores nationwide and employs more than 20,000 people to service more than 40 million customers.

Jack in the Box construction continues

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: An EA Glass worker prepares a window opening for glass installation.

After beginning at a blistering rate, the construction of the new Jack in the Box restaurant slowed to a snail’s pace after the COVID-19 pandemic hit. However, work is still being done on the new building. The restaurant is located on the northeast corner of the intersection of 20th Avenue and Thatcher Boulevard (U.S. Highway 70).  

On Monday, installers from EA Glass were seen working on the window openings for the new building. Due to COVID-19, all area restaurants are only allowed drive-through or take-out services. An opening date for the restaurant hasn’t been disclosed. 

The new businesses to the shopping center are accented by a renovation of the center’s parking lot, which saw new sewer and water lines installed as well as new paving and additional parking spaces. 

A new lot has been prepared for a building across from the current Sodalicious location, but there has been no work on that location and no business has been announced for it.