Originally Published: July 21, 2013 6:01 a.m.
PRESCOTT - The former Boot Barn in the Frontier Village shopping center is being retooled into a Harbor Freight Tools store that is due to open Saturday, July 27.
Harbor Freight Tools officials chose Prescott because the community has the right demographics, said Donald Teel, who is in charge of property management for the Yavapai-Prescott Tribe, which owns Frontier Village. He described the store's market as predominantly male, ages 20 to 65, do-it-yourself types.
Prescott is "an awesome town to live in," said store manager Jim Johnson, who transferred from Mesa. "Demographics are perfect."
A number of customers drive downhill to the Valley to shop at Harbor Freight Tools, Johnson said.
Harbor Freight, which started as a family-owned business in 1977 and is based in Camarillo, Calif., offers more than 7,000 tools and accessories, its website states. It grew to more than 400 stores.
"I carry everything from welding to a huge assortment of air tools," Johnson said. "We also have specialty tools for the extremely advanced mechanic."
Prospective customers are likely to encounter Del Minnard, 54, when they enter the store, which is about 14,500 square feet and is located at Suite 71 at Frontier Village, 1781 E Highway 69.
"I know our tools very well," Minnard said. "I work the sales floor. I'm the man you want to see."
Minnard, Johnson and two others transferred from Valley stores. Johnson, 46, said he hired at least 50 area residents for full- and part-time jobs.
Johnson said he received hundreds of applications, and spoke highly of the work force, which underwent orientation Monday.
"I am astounded at the phenomenal applicants that I got," Johnson said. He used the word "superstars" to describe his hard-working and friendly staff.
At least half of the employees are responsible for unloading trucks and filling the sales floor, Johnson said. Merchandise comes from Harbor Freight's distribution center in Moreno Valley, Calif.
Retail associate Marie Nicoletti, 24, of Prescott is a former long-haul truck driver.
"I decided to come home," Nicoletti said as she placed sales signs on a shelf Thursday afternoon. "I'm a tomboy. I love tools."
While Harbor Freight is fully staffed, Johnson said, "I'm still taking applications. I am always looking for good people."
He said the minimum requirements are a high school diploma and a good work ethic. He did not disclose wages but said they are "extremely competitive."
A sign at the entrance to Harbor Freight Tools encourages job applicants to apply online at hftcareers.com
Harbor Freight's arrival marks "a real turning of the corner" for the first phase of Frontier Village, Teel said. He was referring to the expanse from the west end to the former site of Walmart, which closed in 2003 to move to Prescott Lakes Parkway and Highway 69.
Rack On Cue opened Thursday in 6,000 square feet in Suite 15 at the west end of Frontier Village. Owner Jennifer Christensen described it as being a family-oriented game venue that offers billiards, darts, an arcade, shuffleboard and a restaurant.