The first-of-its-kind Home Channel News list of 50 hardware store all-stars visits stores with southern charm, historic charm and the universal charm of double-digit sales growth. Below, the state-by-state guide winds through Mississippi, Missouri and Montana.
Wesson Ace Hardware
A store with real Southern charm — and quite a few authentic Southern characters, according to one supplier — the Wesson Ace Hardware store in rural Mississippi is a classic, full-service hardware store dually affiliated with Ace and Handy Hardware. The company has successfully cultivated a strong e-commerce business from its rural location on Highway 51 in Wesson.
On one side of Main Street in Troy, Mo., is Hechler’s Hearth & Home, in a converted opera house. On the other side is the original Hechler Hardware building, which opened in 1896. “We’ve got the original floors and the old iron ladder that runs around the walls,” said Judy Hechler, president. Her sons Dan and Phil represent the fourth generation in the business. In addition to history, the store emphasizes service. “We have people who have been here 43 years,” Judy said. “Our goal is to provide the best personal service you can have.”
King’s Ace Hardware
Sales were up by double digits at Billings, Mont.-based King’s Ace Hardware in 2009, despite the recession swirling around the rest of the country. But then road construction projects began on two major thoroughfares that pass one of the company’s two stores. Sales took a hit, but owner Skip King, ever the optimist, proceeded with plans to open a third unit in Billings. Sales are back up, and the new 22,000-sq.-ft. store, scheduled for a fall 2011 opening, will have an espresso bar, post office outlet, full Craftsman tool assortment and 20-ft. veranda for outdoor displays.
On Thursday, read all-star profiles from Nebraska, Nevada and New Hampshire. For the full article as it appeared in the May issue of Home Channel News, register online to read here.