Aaron’s franchise plans new building in east Aberdeen

A Portland-area franchise owner for Aaron’s sales and lease company plans to build an 8,000-square-foot store in Aberdeen, across from the Olympic Gateway Mall.

John Childs’ Northwest Freedom Corp. purchased the old restaurant building at 1212 E. Wishkah and the Starbucks property located next door. Childs said both properties were on the same parcel.

He worked with city officials to split the parcel in two and said just last week he was able to find a buyer for the Starbucks property on its own.

“It’s not something I really wanted to own,” he explains.

The restaurant had been an original location for a Duffy’s, which closed in 2005 when a rent agreement couldn’t be worked out. Los Arcos Mexican restaurant moved into the space shortly after. The Martinez family, which operated the Los Arcos, posted a note on the restaurant door shortly after the building was sold thanking their customers and saying they intended to open a new restaurant in the Ocean Shores area.

Childs said the plan is to demolish the restaurant and reconfigure the footprint at the site for Aaron’s. The thought is to have 5,000 to 6,000 square feet for his Aaron’s franchise and 2,000 to 3,000 square feet to lease for another store that has not been decided.

He says he’s getting demolition bids now and hopes to have the building torn down and his store in place by next spring.

The store is basically a rent-to-own store for furniture, electronics and home appliances.

“Stores are normally three times bigger than your normal rent-to-own stores but half the prices,” Childs explained. “It’s a different business model.”

He says the Aberdeen store will be his 19th location for Aaron’s. He has 18 stores in the Portland-Vancouver area and recently opened up one in Port Angeles. Someone else owns the franchise opportunities for the Seattle-Tacoma area.

The Aaron’s website says there are more than 1,800 company-operated and franchised stores in 48 states and Canada. The company was founded in 1955 by entrepreneur R. Charles Loudermilk Sr. and headquartered in Atlanta and has been publicly traded since 1982.

Childs is a former certified public accountant who saw an opportunity to buy an Aaron’s franchise and has been expanding ever since.

“I just decided the CPA life wasn’t for me and wanted to get into a real business and it’s turned out to be really good for me,” he said.

Childs had nothing but positive words for his experience working with Aberdeen’s Planning & Building process.

“I have done a whole lot of these permits, and Lisa Scott and the city of Aberdeen have been extremely easy to work with,” he said.