HARDWARE STORES

Hardware Store All-Stars: Mass., Mich., Minn.

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Continuing the alphabetical, coast-to-coast rundown of all-star hardware stores, here are three standouts from Massachusetts, Michigan and Minnesota.

• Massachusetts
W.E. Aubuchon Hardware 
The biggest of the hardware independents, Westminster, Mass.-based Aubuchon runs more than 130 locations across six northeastern states, starting with Maine and ending in upstate New York. Family owned since 1908, Aubuchon Hardware was way ahead of the curve on the Internet, e-commerce and search engine optimization; the company owns the much-envied hardwarestore.com Web address. Two grandsons of the founder now lead the W.E. Aubuchon Co. Some 16 other family members, some of them fourth generation, work in management positions. The company has closed some units during the recession but opened others, the most recent being on April 2 in Cohasset, Mass., in a former Chevrolet dealership. 

• Michigan
GillRoy’s
With 26 stores (25 in Michigan and one in Georgia), GillRoy’s is one of Do it Best Corp.’s largest dealers. President Bob Morgan’s father started with one store in downtown Flint in 1945. Much of Michigan, and especially Flint, has been devastated by the evaporation of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. auto industry. But Flushing, Mich.-based GillRoy’s has not closed a single store or conducted any major layoffs. “We’ve been able to retain all of our management,” Morgan said. “We’ve cut expenses and work twice as hard for less money.” 

• Minnesota
Arrow Ace Hardware
The recent tornados that tore through the Southern states stirred up painful memories for longtime employees at Arrow Ace Hardware in St. Peter, Minn. On March 31, 1998, a twister came through their town, destroying 90% of the homes and damaging 125 businesses. Once the winds died down, Ace dealer Dave Neiman started handing out chainsaws, flashlights (nearly 300 of them) and plastic sheeting through the store’s shattered front windows. He told people they could come back later and pay him. A member of the Ace buying group since 1956, Arrow Ace Hardware has grown to include 10 Minnesota locations, with an 11th under construction in northwestern Rochester. Neiman, who purchased the original St. Peter store from his father, is still president of the company. 

On Monday, all-star profiles from Mississippi, Missouri and Montana. For the full article as it appeared in the May issue of Home Channel News, register online to read here.

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k.lol says:
Mar-30-2012 04:33 pm

I see how things have evolved
I see how things have evolved in the manufacturing auto industry in Michigan and I can`t say I am glad of that, first of all because all of the people that have lost their jobs and many other benefits along and, second of all, because we no more have car parts producers in the nearby. This means more expensive car parts for us to buy from some place else in this country. Luckily, I found these Brembo rotors on a pretty affordable car parts provider website, otherwise I don`t know what I would have done to get my car repaired on a budget.

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Ace’s Motorcycle Mission rides again

BY HBSDEALER Staff

For the fourth year in a row, the Ace Foundation’s "Motorcycle Miracle Mission" is hitting the road to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

The event generated $100,000 for the cause in the last three years. Riders will travel the 600-mile route from Oak Brook, Ill. — headquarters of Ace Hardware — to Marshfield, Wis., and back July 22-24.

"Children’s Miracle Network hospitals provide state-of-the-art care, life-saving research and preventive education for children 24 hours a day, 365 days a year," said Jimmy Alexander, president of the Ace Hardware Foundation. "There is a Children’s Miracle Network hospital dedicated to serving children in every community across the United States and Canada. These hospitals are committed to providing the best care for children when they need it."

The event is soliciting sponsors and riders — the rider commitment is $2,000. Fundraising money solicited by the rider will be applied to the participation fee.

The Foundation is seeking event sponsorships as well, ranging from a $5,000 to $15,000 packages that include placement of donor logos on the chase van, official rider’s shirt and other publicity.

The Ace Foundation is hoping to raise $100,000 this year. 

 

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Tornado devastates Kansas town

BY Brae Canlen

There wasn’t a lot of media attention on Reading, Kan., last week, when a tornado touched down on the night of May 21 and wiped out most of the town. The press corps was focused on Joplin, Mo., and Reading (rhymes with bedding) is a small farming community: Approximately 230 people were living in 40 homes; Reading Elementary School only has about 67 students.

By Sunday morning, May 22, about 10 homes were left, some of them partly destroyed. The town’s school had its roof torn off, and its post office, Baptist Church and volunteer fire department were damaged. One man was killed when his mobile home was flipped over.

Jeff Clark, a Do it Best dealer in nearby Lyndon, had been tracking the F3 category tornado on Saturday night. Lyndon Building Materials is the closest lumberyard and hardware store to Reading, and Clark was worried about Reading. “We had customers in that town, and we knew they’d be in trouble,” Clark said. But the National Guard had closed off all the roads leading into Reading.

Clark opened his home center early Sunday morning, and his Reading customers started streaming in. “They bought water, plywood and screw guns,” Clark said, referring to cordless drills. There was no power in Reading, so everything had to be battery-driven. 

By Monday, the National Guard started letting people into the area. Clark sent some of his employees with cordless power tools, plywood and 2x4s to help residents board up their houses. At press time, Reading residents were being allowed back into their homes for a couple of hours a day to recover their possessions.

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