For three decades, a local Aubuchon Hardware store manager saw the company as an important part of his life 

Jeff Ginn, manager of Aubuchon Hardware on South Main Street in Concord, leans on a stack of portable generators in the store on Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014. Ginn had picked up the inventory of generators from the company's Lee location on Friday but had not sold any once they were in stock.

Jeff Ginn, manager of Aubuchon Hardware on South Main Street in Concord, leans on a stack of portable generators in the store on Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014. Ginn had picked up the inventory of generators from the company's Lee location on Friday but had not sold any once they were in stock. "It's all in the timing," he said Saturday. "As power comes back on, there's less need." SUSAN DOUCET

Jeff Ginn managed the Concord Aubuchon for 25 years, retiring in 2019.

Jeff Ginn managed the Concord Aubuchon for 25 years, retiring in 2019. RAY DUCKLER / Monitor staff

By RAY DUCKLER

Monitor columnist

Published: 02-18-2024 6:28 PM

Initially, while visiting the local Aubuchon Hardware store this week to say goodbye, Jeff Ginn declined an opportunity to address his emotions concerning the franchise that he dedicated 50 years to.

A day later, though, Ginn, who grew up in Pembroke and lives in Concord, admitted that he had failed to think the matter through. He managed Concord’s Aubuchon for 25 years, retiring in 2019.

The store will close for good on March 18. At 40% off, merchandise is flying off the shelves as employees prepare to turn out the lights on a familiar Concord landmark. Linus, a brown and black tabby who lived at the store for eight years, left Thursday, adopted by an employee.

“My favorite co-worker,” said Mikaila Sanville of Laconia, who’s worked at the Concord branch for a year. “I’m sad it’s closing.”

This is the kind of environment in which Ginn worked. He realized that his career as a manager was rewarding – complete with camaraderie, teamwork, high morale and mutual respect – because the people who worked under him cared, feeding off the passion that Ginn brought to the table.

Ginn spoke at length about the late Dan Cochrane of Penacook, describing him as a big reason why Ginn agreed to speak about the past. Cochrane worked at Aubuchon for 25 years.

The 28th of this month marks one year since Cochrane passed away from cancer. Ginn spent several years volunteering as a part-time caregiver for his friend. Cochrane was loyal and carried a workload that was never too heavy.

He eventually ran the paint department under Ginn, a key role due to Aubuchon’s reputation for being a leader in quality and selection.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Mother of two convicted of negligent homicide in fatal Loudon crash released on parole
Students’ first glimpse of new Allenstown school draws awe
Pay-by-bag works for most communities, but not Hopkinton
Regal Theater in Concord is closing Thursday
With less than three months left, Concord Casino hasn’t found a buyer
‘Bridging the gap’: Phenix Hall pitch to soften downtown height rules moves forward

“A lot of people have worked with me,” Ginn said. “Knowing their dedication, it’s tough not to talk about them because a lot of people put some really hard hours in, and (Cochrane) was extremely dedicated.

“So it was everybody else who helped me. I had an incredible staff. That’s why I changed my mind about speaking.”

Ginn graduated from Pembroke Academy in 1970. By then, he had already worked at the Allenstown Aubuchon for two years. He managed that store and the one in Milford before joining the Concord team in ‘94.

He retired four years ago at age 69, saying his duties – including lifting boxes that sometimes weighed 100 pounds – had become too difficult. 

“I was mentally tired,” Ginn said. “I was physically tired too. I couldn’t go and it wasn’t fair for them.”

He works part-time for a clothing store downtown. He received a phone call earlier this month saying that Aubuchon would close, with employees having the option to transfer to the Alton branch. He was told the news before current staff members knew.

After all, Ginn worked for the business through four generations of ownership.

“I still have friends in the corporation,” Ginn said. “Not many people can say they worked for a family business for this long.”

Ginn saw Cochrane as family. He drove with him to doctor’s visits, helping him through chemotherapy.

“That was very difficult, yes,” Ginn said, “because I was at his home over the last days.”

Concord’s branch will close on March 18, leaving Concord-area Aubuchon stores in Allenstown, Warner and Hillsboro. Ginn didn’t mince words when addressing the reason for the impending closure of the Concord store.

“It’s financial and they began to slide downwards,” Ginn said. 

Ginn visits Aubuchon now and then, mindful not to frequent too often or stay too long. His era has passed and he knows it.

“I’ll occasionally stop in, say hello, grab something,” Ginn said. “But you try not to go too often. It wasn’t my store anymore.”

Even so, Aubuchon’s assistant manager, Peter Taber, pointed out the former floor boss, suggesting he would be a good source for a story.

“This is a true landmark,” Taber said before Ginn changed his mind and agreed to talk. “And he’ll know a lot.”

He did. He worked at a store for three decades, enough time in a city that Ginn said opened its arms to create more than a place to buy plumbing equipment, snow shovels and paint.

“A lot of hard work by people,” Ginn said. “Again, working with the community of Concord to find a spot with a piece of that community pie. You’ve got to be passionate, and that’s really what it  was all about.”