Renovations are underway to transform a vacant space formerly occupied by books, movies and gag gifts into the new home for Harbor Freight Tools.

The tool and equipment store has a soft opening planned for July 31 and an Aug. 15 grand opening.

Founded in 1977, the retailer has expanded from its first store in North Hollywood, California to 850 stores nationwide. Customers can find more than 7,000 items available for purchase at each store, ranging from automotive, air and power tools, shop equipment, and hand tools.

Eric Smidt, president of Harbor Freight Tools, expressed his excitement to serve Ellis County residents.

“We're thrilled to be opening our 70th Harbor Freight Tools store in Texas and very pleased by the warm welcome we've received in Waxahachie," Smidt said. "At Harbor Freight, we're all about delivering high-quality tools at ridiculously low prices. We do it by manufacturing our tools at the same factories as the expensive brands, but we cut out the middleman and pass the savings on to our customers.”

Smidt stated the company has invested millions of dollars in building and operating its quality test labs to ensure the best product for customers at the lowest price. He invites customers to come out when the store opens its doors this summer.

The Waxahachie Harbor Freight is located in the former Hastings books store at 791 N. U.S. Highway 77 in Waxahachie. When the store opens, it will occupy 15,000 of the available 22,000 square feet. The retailer will add 35-40 new jobs.

Doug Barnes, Waxahachie Director of Economic Development, feels Harbor Freight will make a great addition to the Waxahachie business community and will provide residents with another resource.

“Anytime we get a new business coming into the community, and they are occupying a space that has been vacant for almost nine months that is always an asset to the community," Barnes said. "It improves the quality of life."

Barnes explained the addition of Harbor Freight would also provide the opportunity for another retailer to open a location. Another storefront will be created with the remaining square footage unused by Harbor Freight.

Barnes hopes the new business that occupies this space will provide residents with a new product or service that is not currently available in the city.

For more information about Harbor Freight Tools and its products go to its website at www.harborfreight.com.