Trust Hardware owner faces lawsuit over north-side store closure

Adam Taylor

Supply-chain and labor issues have forced the owner of Indianapolis-based Trust Hardware to close two of his three stores—and he’s facing a lawsuit from one of his landlords as a result.

Adam Taylor says he officially closed his north-side Binford Shoppes store, 5868 E. 71st St., on Nov. 3. His downtown store, at 911 Massachusetts Ave., closed a few weeks later. Taylor’s remaining location, at 11135 Pendleton Pike in Lawrence, remains open.

Taylor’s landlord on the north side, Binford Shoppes LLC, filed suit against Taylor and Trust Hardware-Binford LLC. on Nov. 12.

Taylor opened the Binford Shoppes store in October 2020. He had signed a five-year lease with Binford Shoppes, with three additional five-year renewal options after that. Under the terms of the agreement, which was filed along with the lawsuit, the rent was to be $6,161 per month in the first year.

In its complaint, the landlord said it filed suit against Trust Hardware after it failed to make its August, September and October payments, then vacated the store in early November.

Binford Shoppes said it had notified Trust Hardware on Sept. 27, that it would terminate the retailer’s right to possess the property unless the past-due amounts were paid in full by 5 p.m. Oct. 1.

The tenant failed to make that deadline and negotiated an agreement under which it would pay $39,641 in rent, and cover the landlord’s attorneys’ fees and expenses, by the end of the year. Those payments were to be made in seven separate installments between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31.

Binford Shoppes says Trust Hardware failed to make its scheduled Nov. 3 payment of $4,000 and, on that day, the retailer’s attorney notified the landlord that the store had decided to cease business operations.

Taylor told IBJ on Monday that he was forced to close the Binford store because supply-chain problems made inventory expensive and hard to secure, and workforce issues made it hard to hire enough people at competitive wages.

One of Trust Hardware’s hallmarks is its 24-hour-per-day operating model, so the business needs employees to staff the store at all hours.

“There’s only so much you can fight,” Taylor said. “Everything kind of hit all at once.”

Taylor closed the Mass Ave store for similar reasons. For now, he said, the Lawrence store is continuing to operate.

The Mass Ave store was Taylor’s newest: It opened in April. The Lawrence store has been in operation since 2012.

The Lawrence location is doing better because it has an established customer base, Taylor said, and he’s hopeful he can keep that store going. But low inventory levels made it tough for the two new stores to gain a foothold. “All stores take time to get going, even in good times.”

Once the seasonally strong spring and summer seasons were over, Taylor said, it was no longer feasible to keep those two newer stores running.

The plaintiff is asking the court to enter a judgement against Trust Hardware in the amount of $381,478 for unpaid rent and other fees and expenses, plus a judgement against Taylor as the guarantor of the lease. The complainant also asks the court to award it possession of the store’s inventory, equipment and fixtures as collateral.

Binford Shoppes is represented by Matthew Barr of the Indianapolis law firm Rubin and Levin P.C. Barr declined to comment on the case.

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10 thoughts on “Trust Hardware owner faces lawsuit over north-side store closure

  1. How is any small retailer, restaurant, or service provider supposed to react to serious and unforeseen economic and labor disruption? No one alive today [or very, very few] has ever seen times like this. Businesses forced to close, vacant unkept buildings littered throughout our city, angry groups vandalizing and destroying buildings and threatening the very existence of history. It has always been known that entrepreneurs have been the support of our economy. We now face the perils caused by mismanaged handouts by our inept government leaders. Let’s Go Brandon.

    1. Buildings were vandalized for like 2 days when Trump was in office and before Trust Hardware even expanded.

    2. What did Trump in office have to do with BLM/Antifa Violent Riots. How about the Mayor and to less extent Governor failed to allow the complete looting and destruction of businesses in Indianapolis?

  2. Regardless of reasons, faults or blame; it is a shame to see a hardworking person with a plan and dream end up in a situation of possibly losing all of their assets that they worked many years to build up.
    Adam,
    I regret that his situation di not work out for you and hope you are able to find a way to reach a settlement that will prevent you from suffering devastating financial losses.

    1. Agreed. Retailing is a tough gig under most circumstances but these days its got to be a nightmare. I visited the Mass Ave store several times and was glad to see it in the neighborhood. The problem is, we need many more people like Adam willing to invest time, energy and money to improve the local retail environment. But who wants to take a chance when you could end up with a heartless landlord eager to take you to the cleaners if things don’t work out, and have you pay for his lawyers to squeeze every last dime out of you. The guy gave it a shot in good faith. It didn’t work out. Have a little compassion rather than driving him out of business completely.

  3. These comments make me wonder if I am subscribed to a business journal or if Nuvo came back to life? Sorry Becky, landlords tend to frown on tenants that stop paying rent 6 months into a 5 year lease. The Binford store didn’t make it 1 year and the Mass Ave didn’t make it 6 months. Clearly a horrible business plan and an owner that is naive at best. He’s quoted as blaming winter for one of the closures. In the worst labor market in 80 years he thought he could staff a hardware store 24 hours a day. This is just the market doing its job and sorting out business with asinine business plans.

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