John Hechinger, Sr. helped pioneer the do it yourself industry. A single hardware store established by his father (Sidney) in 1911, Hechinger grew to a 64-store chain by the time it acquired Virginia Beach, Virginia-based HQ Home Quarters Warehouse in December 1987 for $66 million.
After several rounds of store closings, Hechinger Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on June 11, 1999, but the reorganization failed. That September, Hechinger’s assets were liquidated, including its 117 remaining stores.
In 2004, Home Decor Products bought the Hechinger brand name and opened an online retailer the following year, which sells the same products as the former brand. On February 5, 2009, it was announced that the site would shut down and Hechinger would no longer sell tools. The site closed shortly thereafter.
Hechinger was one of the first sponsors of network television news in the early 1950s, when television was in its infancy. Their sponsorship of the 11 PM newscast at TV station WTOP in Washington, DC, was a first, according to Walter Cronkite (an anchor of those broadcasts) in his autobiography A Reporter’s Life. Walter Cronkite also reported that the products of this particular business, such as sheet rock, tools, and other appliances, did not compare to their competitors’ quality of products. Therefore, he did not recommend the use or purchase of these products due to the nature of their insufficient qualities.