A Sign of Home Improvement Market Health

It seems just about everyone is staying busy at home during the pandemic by tackling DIY home improvement projects. And to do all of those home improvement projects, we need tools! This might be why business is booming for Harbor Freight.

a close up of a sign

© JIM WATSON / Contributor/Getty Images

Harbor Freight Is Opening New Stores

The discount tool and equipment retailer has been opening new stores across the country at a rapid rate. Harbor Freight boasts more than 1,050 stores in almost every state, and they are currently considering hundreds of new locations across the U.S., according to their website. Hiring is up as well, with 2,800 current openings. The jobs feature mostly retail positions, but corporate positions are also available in web development, accounting, human resources and marketing.

The quick expansion of Harbor Freight is an accurate representation of the home improvement industry as a whole. According to the Home Improvement Research Institute, 2020 has seen an explosion in home improvement spending. The latest estimates show $439 billion in sales, with the largest boost coming from consumers, who are expected to spend 11 percent more this year than they did in 2019.

What Is Harbor Freight?

In case you don’t already know, Harbor Freight is a privately owned discount tool retailer headquartered in Calabasas, Cal. Founded in 1977 as a family business offering mail-order tools, it has since expanded to the nation-wide business it is today. Harbor Freight carries more than 7,000 tools and accessories, including hand tools, air and power tools, shop equipment and automotive tools.

Compared to other home improvement stores like Lowe’s and The Home Depot, Harbor Freight’s tool prices are more affordable — dirt cheap, in fact. However, the quality of the products isn’t always up to par. Savvy customers have discovered which tools at Harbor Freight give you the most bang for your buck, and which you’re better off buying at a traditional home improvement store.

Why DIYers Love Harbor Freight

The store has acquired an enthusiastic following of DIYers who love a good deal. The Harbor Freight Reddit group has more than 25,000 members, who log on daily to share their favorite products, coupon tips and more. Most DIYers will agree that Harbor Freight is a fine option for basic hand tools, tool boxes and storage products, and many swear by their affordable air compressors.

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