So, do you want to check out a cool hardware store? Ace Hardware Corp. has four that it thinks are the coolest.
As part of the company’s fifth annual Coolest Hardware Stores awards program, the company picked four from among its 48,000 affiliated, locally owned operations to honor. Ace named the four winners during its annual Pinnacle Conference held in Las Vegas earlier this week.
And the winners, as characterized by Ace, are:
- Henkle’s Ace Hardware, Webb City, MO. Opened in 2006 by husband and wife owners John and Cris Henkle, the store incorporates 9,800 square feet of indoor selling space and an outdoor greenhouse. Henkle’s Ace brings the community the charms of an old fashioned hardware store but with the modern amenities. The store features a coffee bar and a gift shop where customers can find home décor, gardening gifts, flags and even women’s scarves. The store is known for the hundreds of hanging flower baskets it sells every spring, plants included.
- Islands Ace Hardware, Savannah, GA. Randy West opened Islands Ace Hardware in 2007 and over eight years it has become a sought after shopping destination for residents of the town and surrounding island communities. The store covers 18,000 square feet, but the operation also includes 7,000 square feet of garden center where customers can work with skilled gardeners to find what they need from an abundance of live goods, garden supplies and unique artisan pottery. Shoppers even can shop an extensive clothing department and gift shop featuring jewelry and local artwork. In 2014, management installed an in-store post office.
- Miner’s Ace Hardware, San Luis Obispo, CA. Originally opened in 1956 by brothers Lee and Glen Miner, the original store in Grover Beach, CA is now part of a seven-store, third-generation family business. Ace awarded the Coolest designation to the location in San Luis Obispo, a 13,000 square foot store paired with a 14,000 square foot outdoor garden center serving a dynamic college town. The store actually is a multi-building operation, with elements including a barn and rail station, featuring original wooden slat floors, and a turn of the century stagecoach station, tied together with conspicuous roofing and way-finding signage. The store buildings are surrounded by the lush, sunny garden center.
- Rocking R Ace Hardware, Harrisonburg, VA. Located in the heart of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, the Rocking R Hardware operation consists of a 15,000 square hardware store that is surrounded by picturesque farmland. Rocking R caters to the local contractor community with an extensive inventory of tools and strives to meet the needs of its neighbors by selling relevant products such as canning jars. The store even provides thoughtful details, including hitching posts that can be found outside the store for horse carriages, which still are used by the community. Rocking R has become known for its vast selection of hand and power tools, which take up about half the store. The store offers educational opportunities for its customers, recently hosting informative sessions on owls, other birds of prey, bee keeping, and food canning.
“Being a Coolest Hardware Store isn’t just about having a unique building and products. It’s about meeting the community’s needs in a way that only a small business can,” said Dan Miller, vp/retail operations and new business, Ace Hardware.