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Friedman's set to return to Petaluma May 9

  • Barry Friedman spoke during a private party held at the new Friedman's Home Improvement store in Petaluma Wednesday, April 30, 2014. (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

After 37 years, Friedman's Home Improvement will return May 9 to Petaluma, where the family-owned company began, Barry Friedman, president and CEO, said Wednesday.

"There's a lot of symbolism in this store," Friedman told a group of 900 guests invited to preview the company's new store on the city's east side. "Look what we came back to Petaluma with. Our best years are yet to come."

Harry Friedman, Barry Friedman's great-uncle, recounted how his brothers Benny and Joe opened their first store in Petaluma in 1946 with $4,000. By 1976, their East Washington Street building deteriorating, the brothers left to focus on their Santa Rosa store, which opened in 1971. But they had always planned to return to Petaluma, Harry Friedman said.

Friedman's Home Improvement Preview Party

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"Petaluma, thank you for leaving the light on for us," he said. "You will not be disappointed."

The event, featuring catered food, beer from Petaluma brewer Lagunitas and live music from Pat Jordan, showcased the 80,000-square-foot store in the new Deer Creek Village.

Construction on Friedman's, the anchor tenant of Petaluma's second-largest shopping center, began last year at North McDowell Boulevard and Rainier Avenue. The store includes a 35,000-square-foot lumber shed.

In all, Deer Creek Village will have 344,000 square feet of retail and mixed-used space and about 6 acres of open space, wetlands and trails.

The front of Friedman's has two "living walls" covered in live greenery that will be fed and watered automatically, changing with the seasons. Two similar 16-foot walls will bracket the entrance to the 20,000-square-foot nursery.

Guests of the Wednesday event included local politicians and business leaders as well as family of Friedman's team members. Notably absent was former CEO and president Bill Friedman, son of founder Benny who, in turn, passed the leadership of the company to his son, Barry, last year.

Bill Friedman, who remains chairman of the company's board, was in the hospital recovering from a respiratory infection, Barry Friedman said. Bill's wife, Suzie Friedman, spoke on his behalf.


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