No retail store closing caused more distress in our community than when the town’s lone hardware store, Norris, closed its doors in July 2018. And no store’s opening is more eagerly awaited than the new Anawalt store coming to Pacific Palisades.
Since Anawalt is considered an essential business, it could open today, but the opening date is projected for early June. Circling the News spoke to store manager Rosie Maravilla outside the new store space (adjacent to the Ralphs parking lot) as she waited for shipments of products.
“The Covid-19 has really set us back,” said Maravilla, who explained that some manufacturers are not operating, and that vendor support for some was shut down, which meant some products were not available.
Right now, she has seven employees, but another seven or eight will soon be hired. She said she has been approached by employees of businesses that have shut down because they were considered non-essential, but that those people were not committed to staying. “I still have about half to hire,” she said.
“I need someone who can commit to at least six months to a year,” Maravilla said. “As soon as the business is open, we’ll be here seven days a week.”
She is open to speaking to former Norris employees or anyone in the community, but obviously people with hardware experience are especially needed. (visit: anawaltlumber.com/about-us/employment/ and click on download application found under open positions. An application can then be dropped by this store.)
Juan Ayala, who has 15 years with Anawalt will be directly under Maravilla, and Alma Fernandez, who has more than 10 years with the company will serve as an assistant.
Maravilla started working in the hardware business when she was 16. There was an Anawalt in North Hollywood, down the street from where she lived with her mom (a seamstress), her dad (a cook), and nine siblings: she’s the second from the youngest.
“It was perfect for me,” she said. “I was in high school and needed a job.”
When asked why hardware, because so many other teens might have gone into clothing or restaurant jobs, the mother of three said, “I think it’s more interesting because there’s so much to learn; so many departments.”
She started as a cashier then worked up to sales, before moving into the paint department. “I learned all the departments,” Maravilla said, “and once I was well-rounded, I asked to work in the warehouse.”
She said she enjoyed that aspect of the business, because it employed inventory, ordering, receiving, stocking and merchandizing. Three of her siblings also worked at the North Hollywood location and her sister was a buyer.
Maravilla was next promoted to assistant buyer, and when her sister moved to Oregon, she because the buyer – and then eventually the manager.
In 2013, after 28 years with Anawalt, and with a 12-, 14-, 16-year-old at home, Maravilla decided that maybe should take a break and become a stay-at-home mom.
“That lasted two months,” she said and then reached out to the Anawalt store on Pico in West L.A., which was run by a different family than the one in North Hollywood. “I was hired as a buyer for three departments.”
Maravilla noted that Anawalt Company’s President and CEO is Rolando Robles. Other Anawalt stores are in Malibu, on Robertson in West Hollywood and on Highland in Hollywood.
In 2015, she was promoted to senior buyer overseeing three people for the four store locations. The Palisades store is the first that she will manage. “I was happy to have found this family,” she said.
After we talked, I put on a mask and was allowed a quick look at the inside of the store. “The fixtures and aisles are set,” Maravilla said. “We’re putting in all the inventory: some won’t be here in time.”
Even though the inside of the store is still being assmbled, I could tell that the layout is well organized, with wider aisles than Norris, and seemingly more products for sale and supplies. The 7,900-sq.ft. store also seems lighter and airier.
There are hammers, hand tools and a large selection of power tools, including Dewalt, Black & Decker and Milwaukee. The gardening center not only has soil and fertilizer but also hummingbird feeders and bird seed.
Local contractors will no longer have to leave town, because there are three aisles of plumbing supplies, as well as electrical, and hardware, such as doorknobs.
Anawalt will carry interior and exterior paint, but Maravilla is waiting for the color center, which was supposed to be here in March and is now pushed back to June. A tinting machine will be set up.
The store will have a machine to make keys, as well as Bissel rug and spot cleaners to rent.
“We’re hoping to be perfect and carry what’s best for the Palisades,” said Maravilla. If they don’t have something needed, they will special order the item.
June can’t come fast enough.
MEMBERS OF THE PALISADES ANAWALT CREW: