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Ernst Home & Nursery is a defunct home improvement warehouse chain that filed for bankruptcy in the mid-1990s. Founded in Seattlemarker, Washingtonmarker in 1893 by Fred and Charles Ernst, many of their stores were located in strip malls, often with a chain in corporate parent company Pay 'n Save. At the company's height it operated 95 stores in 12 states. The original store was located at 512 Pike Street in Downtown Seattle. It served as the flagship store before closing in the early 1980s. For a brief time Ernst had a distribution center located in Kent Washington, acquiring Pay 'n Pak's former distribution for a few years after leaving the former Valu-Mart distribution center site which they used since the 1980s.

History

Ernst Home & Nursery in Boise, ID
Ernst was founded in 1893 when Fred and Charles Ernst opened a Ernst Hardware store in downtown Seattle, Washingtonmarker. In 1960, surviving founder Fred Ernst sold the nine store chain to Pay 'n Save Corporation. Ernst was spun-off from Pay 'n Save when the company was sold to Thrifty Corporation in 1988. Thrifty later sold Pay 'n Save to Kmart Corporation, which merged the drug stores into its PayLess Drug division.

Ernst went public in 1994 and hoped to raise $45 million in an effort to open 55 superstores between 1994 and 1997. The idea failed as Ernst was over-saturated with big-box competitors, such as Home Depot, HomeBase and Eagle Hardware & Garden, that were opening in markets that Ernst operated stores in. This attempt led to financial problems and on July 16, 1996, Ernst filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. By this time, Ernst had 86 stores located in nine western states and was proposed a plan to close over two dozen stores. By November, Ernst, which by then had reported a $51.6 million loss in sales, began to liquidate its assets of $252.2 million and close its remaining stores. Ernst's final stores closed down in late January 1997. Since the company's closure, Calgary, Albertamarker-based Liquidation World acquired many former Ernst locations and reopened them as Liquidation World stores.

Malmo Nursery

Charles Malmo, an immigrant from Norwaymarker, founded a seed store on Second Avenue in Seattle in 1893. Malmo was credited with being first in the Northwest to propagate and grow his own nursery stock rather than import ornamental shrubs from Japanmarker, Hollandmarker and Englandmarker. In 1930, he opened the first "garden department store" on the Pacific Coast, selling all that was needed for the "most elaborate garden, from seeds to large trees," as he humbly asserted during the opening festivities. His son Clark bought to cultivate at the present site of University Villagemarker shopping mall. Many of the gorgeous mature yards surrounding old Laurelhurst homes in Seattle today were the work of the Malmos. In 1962, the Malmos sold their business to Ernst Hardware and Pay 'n Save stores and became a wholly owned subsidiary.

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