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Aubuchon Boost Vermont Hardware Stronghold by Acquiring Bibens Stores

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photo by Kevin O’Connor/VTDigger
Bibens Ace Hardware opened its original store in Springfield in 1949.

SPRINGFIELD — The East Coast Aubuchon hardware chain is set to purchase seven locally owned locations in Brattleboro, Burlington, Colchester, Essex, South Burlington, Springfield and Woodstock.

Vermont’s biggest locally owned group of hardware stores is set to be purchased by what bills itself as the country’s oldest and largest family-held chain in the field.

Bibens Ace Hardware has agreed to sell its seven locations in Brattleboro, Burlington, Colchester, Essex, South Burlington, Springfield and Woodstock to the Massachusetts-based Aubuchon Company, both sides confirm.

“I’ve always believed going out on a high note is important,” Bibens Ace president Eric R. “Rick” Bibens II said in a written statement. “We’re doing really well, business is booming, and our employees and communities are flourishing.”

Bibens’ father, Eric R. Bibens, opened the family’s original store in Springfield in 1949. Son Rick, joining in 1978, grew the business by adding four locations in Chittenden County and acquiring Brattleboro’s Brown and Roberts and Woodstock Home & Hardware.

Rick Bibens is now of retirement age and says he’s selling to spend more time with family. “There really wasn’t another company that I could think of that could pick up where we left off, build on what we’ve created, and take the business even further,” Bibens said. “Aubuchon being family-owned with values like ours made for an obvious choice.”

Founded by William E. Aubuchon Sr. in 1908, the Aubuchon Company already operates 18 Vermont stores in Barre, Fair Haven, Hardwick, Hinesburg, Jeffersonville, Ludlow, Manchester, Middlebury, Milton, Montpelier, Morrisville, St. Johnsbury, Shelburne, South Royalton, Swanton, Vergennes, Waterbury and Windsor.

Aubuchon also owns the Bristol-based Martin’s Hardware & Building Supply and Lyndonville Hardware & Lumber.

Like the latter two locations, Aubuchon’s new Vermont stores will retain their longtime names.

After a real-estate closing in April, Aubuchon will own 119 locations in nine East Coast states.

“Bibens is an independent success story that I have long admired,” fourth generation President William E. Aubuchon IV said in a written statement. “We couldn’t be more delighted to carry on the Bibens Ace legacy.”

Kevin O'Connor, VTDigger

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