The Minnesota-based fasteners specialist Fastenal plans to move into the retail market with its announcement that it will purchase Greenlee's hardware unit.

Fastenal, Winona, Minn., with 897 locations in 48 states and 2000 sales of $745.7 million, signed an agreement with Greenlee to acquire certain assets and assume certain liabilities of its retail fastener and related hardware business currently marketed under the name or brands of Textron Logistics Co., Elco Consumers Products Inc. and Elco Anchor Wire Inc. The business, with annual sales of about $40 million and locations in Rockford, Ill., and Nashville, Tenn., services hardware retailers selling in the consumer marketplace. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The Rockford operation sells prepackaged products such as bolts, screws, washers, hex nuts and concrete anchors and will operate under the brand FAS-N-IT. The Nashville operation sells products such as wire, hooks, brads and nails and will operate under the brand Anchor Wire. Many of the products sold by this business are standard products of Fastenal.

Textron said it is selling the business as part of its continuing move to shed noncore assets. The sale is expected to close by the end of the third quarter.

The move into the retail arena is new to the 34-year-old Fastenal, because the company has focused on supplying the construction and industrial markets with 195,000 different products. It stocks over 50,000 different types of nuts, bolts and other threaded fasteners alone.