As is its annual custom (now in its fourth year), Ace Hardware Corporation recognized a new spate of Ace stores in its 2014 "Coolest Hardware Store" awards. Six stores nabbed the title out of 4,850 Ace stores worldwide, named officially during Ace's Platinum Conference held in Las Vegas.
“Being a ‘Coolest Hardware Store’ isn’t just about having a unique building and products," said VP retail operations and new business Kane Calamari. "It’s about meeting the community’s needs in a way that only a small business can, just as the teams at these stores do every day. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners for their commitment to providing a consistently amazing -- and cool -- shopping experience for their customers and community.”
The winners included Palestine, Texas-based Braly Builders Supply, which makes good use of historic decor from the former Rusk Elementary School that houses the location; Mary's Ace Hardware in New Orleans, which is based in the ever-cool French Quarter and houses a restaurant and kitchen supply section, as well as specialty goods for homeowners in the historic district; and Nutter Hardware in Upper Arlington, Ohio, which is tricked out with a functioning potbelly stove and other vintage hallmarks of a classic general store (such as a willingness to help out in a city-wide emergency).
Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Rylee's Ace Hardware also made the cut, thanks to its unique used ice skates section and its free weekly cooking demonstrations. Steamboat Ace Hardware in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, nabbed a designation for its community involvement and log cabin exterior with two covered patios and a 20-ft. water wheel. Last but not least, Ace honored Steve's Ace Home & Garden in Dubuque, Iowa, which features three greenhouses and a two-acre nursery, as well as a variety of special events, such as Ladies DIY Night, Terrarium Making Class, wine and cheese tastings and canning classes.