Central Purchasing certainly could lay claim to the expression "the right tool for the job." The company, better recognized by its trade name Harbor Freight Tools, is a leading discounter of tool and work equipment. It offers more than 5,000 items, including hand and power tools, automotive parts and supplies, metalworking machines, pressure washers, woodworking instruments, welders, and accessories for home workshops. Top brands include Central Pneumatic, Chicago Electric, DrilMaster, and Pittsburgh. The firm sells through a network of more than 380 retail stores throughout the US. It also markets products through its catalog and online (via its website and eBay store). Central Purchasing was founded in 1968.
Central Purchasing has been expanding its retail operations across the nation. During 2011 the company opened stores under the Harbor Freight Tools name in new markets of Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington. In 2010 the chain's presence was strengthened in Georgia, Idaho, Montana, New York, and South Carolina.
Thanks to its growth strides, Harbor Freight attracted more than 4 million new customers between 2009 and 2011. The chain's customers include do-it-yourselfers, hobbyists, and professional contractors. Harbor Freight is also a go-to supplier for government agencies, schools, and manufacturing firms. Harbor Freight Tools stores are company-owned, not franchises.
Central Purchasing has been building up its distribution footprint, as well. The company is opening a distribution center in Moreno Valley, California, to better serve its growing Harbor Freight Tools chain. The facility, which is around 799,000-sq.-ft., opened in early 2012.
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