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I have one neighbor ( I graduated with him as well) actually that we talk about businss all the time. *He owns the local Ace Hardware store. *He always gives me great deals as well. *I love having him in my corner for when I need to order things at a short notice
He actually went to school, and received a bachelors in business management, *But while in high school and going to college, here worked in a local hardware store here. *The hardware store was horrible. *Employees never received raises (he worked there for about 5 years), no bonuses, nothing. *It was a really bad place, but it was really the only local hardware here without having to travel 15 miles south to the Home Depot. *
He left the hardware store, worked for me believe it or not for about 2 years, then finished up school. *After he finished up school he went and did some work at a local 81 Lumber and a Golf Course.
During that time the local hardware store here kept on getting worse and worse towards the treatment of customers, but the owner knew that people didn't want to travel 15 miles away, so he jacked up the prices and kept up with the attitude.
Finally, my buddys dad one day, whom is a major contractor throughout the U.S., approached him (my buddy) and asked him about going into a partnership and open up an Ace Hardware here. *My buddy jumped on it. *
Now get this, the word quickly spread, and 4 of the employees for the local hardware store approached my buddy and asked him for partnership in it together as well. *They joined forces and last summer they opened up the Ace Hardware here. *Amazing Success!!!
Since then, the local hardware guy has been losing business really bad, and he has actually put his hardware store up for sale.
I know that they went through a national bank because none of the local banks here would give them a loan.
I guess that you have to kind of understand this city. The businesses in the downtown area kind of have the say so on the chamber, city board, etc. compared to the businesses located north of the downtown area (that is where the major busineses are located at though). The downtown area is threatened by the businesses to the north, and they didn't want to lose their downtown hardware store (it's kind of like a mob connection thing here). So none of the banks gave them a loan.
I can tell that he is very passionate about it. It seems like his whole life is wrapped around it. He just got back from Dallas for a week long Ace Hardware convention thing. He is either always working at the store, or flying out to some kind of training or conference thing.
My personal opinion is that he likes the commerical side of the store and closing the big sales. They just become a commerical store (it's like an option that you do along with the regular store) the first part of this year and they are the major players in the area supplying local schools, hospitals, etc.
What he hates worst about it I feel is probably actually having to work the cash register or dealing with regular customers on a constant basis.
Well, the next really major competition from him is like 15 to 18 miles away. Also, since he and the other owners live in Clare, they know a lot of people so that helps with business as well. They can provide a more personal service compared to Home Depot.
I do however admit that I still sometimes will go to Home Depot for some things that I know will be cheaper there