Red Barron furniture and bedding store building sold

December 09, 2007|By ARNOLD S. PLATOU

WILLIAMSPORT - Red Barron's current furniture and bedding store building soon will have a new owner, enabling the business to consolidate its operations nearby.

Paul Crampton Contractors Inc., which is based near Funkstown, is buying the 415 S. Conococheague St. building for $1.25 million, Randy Barron said recently.

After the deal goes to settlement, Paul Crampton said Friday, he will seek to lease the 25,860-square-foot building for retail, office or other uses.

"It's a great location - right off Interstate 81," he said.

Crampton had the high bid for the building at an auction Barron held last month. Barron said the auction drew hundreds of people, including about a dozen "qualified" bidders interested in buying the property.


In addition to the building, furniture and most of Barron's truck fleet was sold. In all, the sale was a "huge success," Barron said.

As a result, he said, the store - newly restocked and open until at least Christmas Eve at its current location - will move across the street to join with the flooring store Barron opened there five years ago. He said he plans to expand that building eventually.

It was about two years ago that Barron and his brother, Scott, moved their decades-old furniture store from downtown Williamsport to its current location to improve business.

But a month later, Scott Barron suffered a heart attack and died. Then, the economy weakened and sales fell. And several months later, Randy Barron was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disease.

This fall, Barron said the building, a former Nabisco cookie distribution center, would be offered at auction. If it hadn't brought a good price, he had intended to consolidate his stores in that location and sell the current flooring building.

To Crampton, the building to be auctioned was an opportunity to expand the commercial side of his business.

The building is "right on that 81 corridor and it's really close to the (Interstate) 70/81 corridor... That's why we were really excited about it," Crampton said.

He said he will seek a tenant to use the building as it is now.

"And, if not, we will look at breaking it up for retail or office," he said.

The building is the third commercial property Crampton owns.

His South Pointe Center shopping strip, off Oak Ridge Drive near Funkstown, has three buildings. The first opened for tenants nine years ago, the second opened about three years later and the last, which is the largest, began about two years ago, he said.

In all, there are about 30 rental spaces, and all except one are filled, he said.

He bought the former Nicodemus Bank building in downtown Hagerstown about three years ago. It is now the home of the Discovery Station interactive museum for children.

Otherwise, Crampton's business is largely residential development and home improvement work.

"We needed to diversify," Crampton said of his move into commercial properties. "We were always in the residential and home improvements ... and when the economy hits one part, unless you have something else, you lose your employees," he said.

"It's a learning curve," he said. "We learn as we go."

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