Oak Brook, Ill.,
09:49 AM

#MyLocalAce – "Shine Bright"


In celebration of reaching 5,000 Ace stores across the globe, we’ll be sharing short stories from local Ace stores from around the world. Have a story you would like to share about your Ace? We want to hear it! Tell us your story using the hashtag #mylocalace on social media.

She was a bright light.” Laurie Becker and the team at Whitmore Ace in Wilmington, Ill., know there’s a big difference between tool and tulle, thanks to their annual prom dress drive.

“We started a prom dress drive in memory of Melissa, a high school cashier that died in an auto accident in 2008 with her friend, Crystal. The best way I could explain Melissa is that she just was a "bright light." She came into work every day with a smile on her face and was so happy and proud to work with us and for Whitmore Ace Hardware. It was her first job and she loved it.

We wanted to honor such a joyful force of nature. In the community we’re working in, going to prom was a challenge financially for a lot of students. Dresses are $5 each and we’ve dressed over 1276 girls. From updos to makeup, the community has really embraced this drive all pitching in with free services.The last two years we collected enough money to give out two $1,000.00 scholarships to students at Reed Custer High School, the high school Melissa and Crystal attended. We set up a store at the park district and before the doors open up to 150 people can be standing outside, driving from several towns away. It takes a great boss to let you collect dresses in a hardware store. Not something you see every day.”

If you or someone you know is interested in donating a gently used prom dress, Laurie and her team collect them year-round and they can be dropped off or mailed to:

Whitmore Ace Hardware, Attn: Laurie, 1105 S Water Street, Wilmington, IL 60481