The wait is over! Harbor Freight is open!

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Harbor Freight in the Mt. Graham Shopping Center is now open.

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – The highly anticipated opening of the Safford location of Harbor Freight is here.

The store, located in the Mt. Graham Shopping Center at 1930 W. Thatcher Blvd. in Safford, is the anchor store for the shopping complex, which has undergone a facelift in recent years and now refurbished its parking lot. 

Store Manager Rick Kroman welcomed customers into the store Monday morning.

“We’re ready to serve and deliver value to customers in Safford and all of Graham County,” he said. “At Harbor Freight, we recognize that now, more than ever, our customers depend on Harbor Freight for the tools they need to get the job done at an affordable price. We are the place for quality tools at the lowest prices for mechanics, contractors, homeowners and hobbyists—any tool user who cares about value.”

While the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has delayed the construction of the Jack in the Box restaurant also at the shopping center, Harbor Freight has kept to its schedule and is set to have a grand opening celebration on May 16. 

For now, due to COVID-19, operating hours are 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday. Additionally, only 25 customers are allowed inside the store at a time due to the physical distancing suggestion.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Michael Burger purchases some tools with the assistance from worker Janelle Farmer at the new Harbor Freight in Safford on Monday.

Michael Burger stopped in early Monday morning to check out the new store and was one of its first customers.

“I’ll be in here a lot,” he said.

The 16,000-square-foot store is the 26th Harbor Freight Tools in Arizona. The store stocks 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.