Ken Hamshaw

Ken Hamshaw, president of Keene-based Hamshaw Lumber, will have more outlets under his management.

Keene-based hardware store Hamshaw Lumber has acquired Leader Home Centers, which has five locations in Massachusetts and Vermont, the company announced in a news release.

The sale closed Wednesday, according to company founder and chairman of the board Doug Hamshaw, who declined to share the purchase price.

Leader’s location in Brattleboro, along with its Massachusetts stores in Amherst, Deerfield, Greenfield and Barre, will be rebranded as Hamshaw Lumber stores, Doug Hamshaw said in a phone interview Thursday. The newly acquired stores will join Hamshaw’s existing locations in Keene and Orange, Mass.

“The joining of these two businesses will afford customers a broad selection of products and services across the entire Connecticut Valley region of New England,” Hamshaw said in the news release.

Hamshaw Lumber, which was founded in 1980 and is now an independently owned Ace Hardware cooperative member, plans to retain all 78 of Leader’s employees, for a total of 243 workers between all seven locations, according to the release. The company plans to renovate the Leader Home Center locations, but the stores will remain open throughout the work.

“It’ll be an ongoing process, but we plan to start immediately,” Doug Hamshaw said of the renovations, most of which will take place over the next six months, and include updating inventory and refurbishing the exterior of the stores. Aside from the renovations and the new name, though, Hamshaw said Leader Home Center customers won’t see much of a difference.

“They’ll have access to a lot bigger product lines, and in some cases more competitive options than they’ve had,” he said. “But we’re not going to discontinue product lines that are working for them. They will retain the product lines and they’ll see new additions.”

Hamshaw Lumber is also the parent company of The Cheshire Horse, an equine, pet and farm supply business with locations in Swanzey and Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Last year, Doug Hamshaw also founded Prichard Supply, a wholesale business specializing in equine products, and acquired Ace Rental Center in Keene, now called Hamshaw Outdoor Power & Rental, which offers tool and equipment rentals, according to the release.

The expansion of the hardware business through the acquisition of Leader Home Centers will help keep Hamshaw Lumber competitive in a changing field, Doug Hamshaw said Thursday.

“The industry as a whole is going through tremendous consolidation,” he said. “There are publicly traded companies that are buying up lumber yards left and right, and in order to stay within scale and compete effectively with larger operations, it became more and more of a necessity to expand beyond our current model in order to stay relevant and significant in our industry.”

Jack Rooney can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1404, or jrooney@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @RooneyReports.