Biz Buzz: Harbor Freight to open April 14

Harbor Freight is opening Tuesday, April 14, in Baxter in the space formerly occupied by Big Lots. Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch

BAXTER — Harbor Freight Quality Tools will open for business at 8 a.m. Tuesday, April 14, opening in the Westgate Mall.

Harbor Freight is opening in the space formerly occupied by Big Lots in Baxter. The store is designated an essential business during the coronavirus pandemic. Similar to other essential businesses during this critical period, Harbor Freight will operate at reduced hours, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The early closing hour is designed to allow for more time to clean the store and restock shelves and for store employees.

While the store is open, Harbor Freight owner and founder Eric Smidt stated on the company’s website that customers are asked to consider ordering online. The company reported a dramatic expansion of its shipping capabilities to meet demand during this health crisis. All in-store sales events are postponed to help social distancing in the store. All existing coupons, set to expire in April or May, were extended and are now valid until June 30. And the company reported it will not increase prices during this health crisis.

Smidt stated the company will aggressively clean and sanitize stores throughout the day, will limit the number of shoppers in the store at any one time, is installing Plexiglass shields at checkout counters and providing staff members with masks and gloves. Employees will also take their own temperatures before shifts. Smidt stated employees impacted by COVID-19 will be compensated for missed work hours.

“All of us need to do our part to keep each other healthy and safe. And while social distancing is essential right now, pulling together and supporting each other as a community and a nation has never been more important. Together we’ll help each other through this,” wrote Eric Smidt, Harbor Freight owner and founder, in a news release. “On behalf of the entire Harbor Freight family, we thank you for your support.”


Harbor Freight Tools started in 1977. Its website notes it has more than 7,000 tools and accessories matching the quality of competitors but at prices up to 80% less. Harbor Freight states it buys direct from factories supplying the expensive brands and passes those savings on to its 40 million customers at more than 1,000 stores nationwide.

Renee Richardson, managing editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at
Renee Richardson is managing editor at the Brainerd Dispatch. She joined the Brainerd Dispatch in 1996 after earning her bachelor's degree in mass communications at St. Cloud State University.
Renee Richardson can be reached at or by calling 218-855-5852 or follow her on Twitter @dispatchbizbuzz or Facebook.
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