Ace Hardware honors 2016 ‘Coolest Hardware Stores’
Ace Hardware Corporation recognizes four local stores for customized service
Ace Hardware Corporation is proud to recognize four local Ace Hardware stores with the company’s sixth-annual “Coolest Hardware Store” awards. Ace Hardware, the world’s largest hardware cooperative, selects only a handful of Ace stores annually to receive this coveted recognition – all based on how each Ace store differentiates its product offerings, services and culture to meet the needs of the community.
The four winners, named during Ace’s semi-annual Convention and Exhibits in Chicago, share common traits yet offer local flavor and product selection above and beyond most hardware stores:
“One of the most exciting aspects of the Ace Hardware shopping experience is that with more than 4,900 retail locations across the globe, no two stores are the same,” said Dan Miller, vice president of retail operations and new business, Ace Hardware Corporation. “From product selection, services, community involvement and the store’s design, Ace owners can tailor every facet of their business to best meet the needs of their community. This unique formula has created some of the industry’s best – and coolest stores – and we commend the teams at this year’s 2016 Coolest Hardware Stores for delivering a one of a kind experience for their customers and community,” Miller said.
Breed & Company Ace Hardware; Austin, Texas
Breed & Company is an iconic retail name in Austin dating back to 1970. The original location, purchased by the Breed family more than 45 years ago, is situated adjacent to the University of Texas campus. Over the years, the Breed family expanded to two locations and ultimately, grew Breed & Company into an Austin institution. Still locally owned and operated, the stores were purchased in 2015 by a new family of retailers. This new family has a vision to expand the role of Ace Hardware in the two stores – from being the “behind the scenes” supplier of great hardware products, to revitalizing the brand and growing the business throughout central Texas.
At Breed & Company, customers can find much more than what is traditionally expected from a hardware store. Beyond basic hardware selections like paint, tools and garden supplies, Breed & Company offers a robust selection of housewares, gifts, kitchen supplies and even fine china and linens. The store boasts a sweets shop with locally-made chocolate truffles and Third Coast Coffee, a Fair Trade, organic blend imported from a cooperative of coffee bean growers.
Hagan Ace Hardware; Jacksonville, Fla.
Founders Don and Ann Hagan opened their first Hagan Ace Hardware in 1962. Today Hagan Ace Hardware includes eight stores and is proudly owned and operated by the family, led by third and fourth generation owners Bill Hagan and his son Jacob Hagan. The store was purchased in 1988 from another Ace retailer and then rebuilt at its current location. This 30,000 sq. ft. “Coolest Ace Hardware Store” is a staple in the community for everything from hardware, grills and paint, to the more unexpected hardware store finds like jewelery, gifts, home décor and even a full-service florist.
As customers enter the store, they are greeted by the smell of freshly-made popcorn and can explore the 10,000 sq. ft. greenhouse, stocked with flowers and plants that are sourced locally by their horticulture experts. In addition, a portion of the store is dedicated exclusively to products related to outdoor coastal activities, including kayaks, paddleboards clothing and footwear. Area residents can also gather all of their pool supply products by stopping into Hagan Ace Hardware. Hagan Ace Hardware offers area residents free pool water testing and a broad selection of pool parts, supplies and water toys.
Heuser Ace Hardware; Bluffton, S.C.
Opened just over a year ago, Heuser Ace Hardware at Buckwalter Place is already an award-winning retailer. The store has been named the “Best of Bluffton” for the hardware and home improvement categories, two years running. Situated in the heart of Bluffton’s downtown, Heuser Ace Hardware’s 12,000 sq. ft. hardware store evokes a classic Main Street vibe.
In addition to serving the community as an outstanding hardware store, owners Bob, Renee and Bobby Heuser proudly offer a full service bike shop. This unique department sells bicycles that are made in the U.S. and appeals to the community’s active lifestyle – both for young families and local retirees. Heuser Ace Hardware is also a sought out destination for its beautiful selection of plants and bird feeders, and even has an expert with a PhD in horticulture and two master gardeners on staff.
Staffing and training are extremely important to the management team at Heuser Ace Hardware, so much so that in addition to the knowledgable horticulturists on staff, they also hired a master electrician and master plumber. The skilled associates at Heuser Hardware are required to participate in a robust training certification, and only those who complete it are permitted to wear Ace’s iconic red vest.
Ace Hardware; Tucson, Ariz.
This Tucson Ace Hardware store dates back to 1962 when Joe and Toni Findysz opened the business as the first Ace Hardware located west of the Mississippi River. Today, the store is still operated by the same family, with Joe and Kelly Findysz at the helm. Store owners have overcome countless competitors over the past five decades, but their dedication to innovation has enabled the store to thrive.
In addition to serving the community as an outstanding hardware store, the Findysz’s 37,000 sq. ft. Ace Hardware offers a world-class fasteners department, a woodworking and custom cabinetry workshop and a hobby shop. It features a fully functional kitchen that serves as a demonstration area for the latest housewares products and gadgets. The store even boasts a full-service small engine repair shop.
Upon entering the store’s 7,000 sq. ft. hobby shop, customers are greeted by a custom-built train that serves as the register area. Venturing into the 10,000 sq. ft. housewares department, shoppers will find locally-made products, including canned salsa, and even themed pasta for the University of Arizona.
All four of this year’s “Coolest Hardware Stores” were honored at the 2016 Ace Hardware Fall Convention & Exhibits, which took place in Chicago Aug. 18-20.
Across the board, Ace Hardware stores are known for their superior customer satisfaction. This year, the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Home Improvement Retailer Store Satisfaction StudySM again ranked Ace Hardware “Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Home Improvement Retail Stores, Ten Years in a Row.” For more information, read the announcement press release.
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For more than 90 years, Ace Hardware has been known as the place with the helpful hardware folks in thousands of neighborhoods across America, providing customers with a more personal kind of helpful. In 2016, Ace ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Home Improvement Retail Stores, Ten Years in a Row," according to J.D. Power. With more than 4,900 hardware stores locally owned and operated across the globe, Ace is the largest retailer-owned hardware cooperative in the world. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill., Ace and its subsidiaries currently operate 17 distribution centers in the U.S. and also have distribution capabilities in Ningbo, China; Colon, Panama; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Its retailers' stores are located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and approximately 60 countries. For more information on Ace, visit www.acehardware.com.