Fort Worth Bolt & Tool Co. has settled into its new location on the city’s south side. But when the company vacated its longtime location on Bledsoe Street in a former warehouse district near West Seventh, there is one thing it didn’t leave behind – its sign. The iconic green art deco sign is now sitting proudly atop the new location at 500 S. Jennings Ave.
“We were in the middle of all that Seventh Street hubbub, we were in five different buildings, our warehouse system was compromised and we needed to move,” said Stuart Hendry, CEO of the company. In the new location, the company, which supplies construction and industrial customers with fasteners and tools, has a 47,000-square-foot warehouse with a 24-foot-high ceiling, a retail-like showroom and easy access to Interstates 30 and 35.
“There are a lot of industries around here that are similar to us, so we’re an easy stop for a lot of people,” said Hendry. David Russell, vice president and son of the late James H. Russell, who purchased the business in 1976, said the move made sense. “There are just lots of economies of scale with this location and a lot of logistical advantages,” he said. The increased showroom space has attracted some walk-in traffic that was rare-to-nonexistent at the Bledsoe location, Russell said. “You had to know where you were going there. We’ve been a lot busier here,” he said. Hendry agreed. “I buy something nearly every week,” he said.
The company is also adding additional products. It handles over 9,000 different SKUs in the new warehouse. Fort Worth Bolt & Too has two other branches, in Denton and Dallas, and has sales of around $20 million annually. The Fort Worth location employs about 41 workers. Hendry believes the company found the right spot. “There’s plenty of redevelopment going on here, too, with the Moncrief Cancer Center, the medical building and what’s happening on Magnolia,” he said. “I think 10 years from now you’ll see this area is a great location geared toward services, businesses and industrial along with some retail and housing.” Robert W. Kelly was the architect on the new site and Muckleroy & Falls was the lead contractor. “We like to support our Fort Worth businesses,” said Russell. The company’s previous site was purchased by a partnership of TLC Urban and Fort Worth’s Kostohryz family. They plan to renovate the area into office space. The company was founded in 1949 in the booming post-World War II era, at 2822 Bledsoe St., then an industrial and warehouse area in Fort Worth. The iconic sign came the same year. The company remains in the Russell family. Lee Russell, James’ wife, is now president and chairman, while Hendry, an in-law, is CEO. A portrait of James Russell remains in the entryway. “I think he’d be real proud of the new place,” said Hendry.