Either you know Nasco and you love it or you don’t know Nasco from a box of crackers. But you just might start to love it once you find out more.
Whichever camp you fall into, you’ll be able to visit the catalog outlet store at a new location in north Modesto soon. Earlier this year Nasco, which began 75 years ago as the National Agricultural School Supply Co., announced it would be closing its Modesto warehouse and storefront on Stoddard Road.
The company, which is based out of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, is now primarily a catalog and online retailer that sells an array of education, arts and crafts, healthcare and farm supplies. Executives had decided to consolidate its warehouses in the Midwest.
But the Modesto retail shop, which was set to close at the end of May, was saved thanks to customer loyalty. It is one of only two Nasco brick-and-mortar shops, the other is with its headquarters in Wisconsin. The Modesto shop has been in business since the the late 1960s and at its old Stoddard Road location since 1994.
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While its attached warehouse closed May 31, the shop has carried on and will relocate over the coming week to its new home on Bangs Avenue in the old site of Modesto Hobby and Crafts. (Don’t worry, Modesto Hobby and Crafts is also still open – it just moved to a few doors down in the same center earlier this summer).
Cristin Caldwell, director of human resources at the Modesto Nasco, said the store should complete its move to the new location by Monday, Aug. 28, at the latest. Inventory is being moved to the new site now, but you can still visit the Stoddard Road store until then.
The new retail space is about the same size and will carry largely the same items with emphasis on educational, arts and crafts and farm supplies. While it will no longer have a whole warehouse to pull from, Caldwell said they will be able to easily order from the company’s stock of 96,000-plus items for local customers.
“We’re trying to accommodate as much as we can without having a warehouse,” she said. “We have a lot of loyal customers and serve a lot of school customers, art students and agriculture groups like 4-H and FFA.”
The Modesto Nasco still employs about two dozen workers, 21 in the office and three in the store.
While the new store is expected to open within about a week, a grand opening celebration will be held the weekend of Sept. 8-10. The event will include gifts and prize giveaways, free hot dogs, snow cones, cotton candy and balloons. Now, what’s not to love about that?
Elsewhere around the Business Beat:
Stock up on some premium locally made olive oil and check out other artisan foodmakers at Sciabica’s Farm to Fork to Flavor event Friday, Aug. 25.
The company, which was founded in 1936, is celebrating its 81st anniversary this year. The event will feature more than a dozen local artisan food companies including Fiscalini Farms, Sunblest Orchards, Oak Barrel Ice & Creamery, The Food Fix, Bauer’s, Silkwood Wines, St. Stan’s Brewing, Paul’s Rustic Pizza and Nicolau Farms. Stroll around and sample or purchase food and enjoy live music and chef demonstrations. The festivities also will mark Sciabica’s seventh annual warehouse sale. All of the company’s olive oils will be on sale from 20 to 30 percent off.
Farm to Fork to Flavor will run 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the company’s Modesto headquarters at 2150 Yosemite Boulevard. Admission is free. For more information visit www.sunshineinabottle.com.