One-on-One with Gina Schaefer

The owner of A Few Cool Hardware Stores and the author of ‘Recovery Hardware’ speaks with HBSDealer.

Gina Schaefer is the founder and CEO of A Few Cool Hardware Stores, a chain of a dozen Ace hardware stores in and around Washington, D.C.

More recently, she authored Recovery Hardware: A Nuts and Bolts Story About Building a Business, Restoring a Community, and Renovating Lives.  In her book, Schaefer shares insights into both building a business and giving people second chances.

In the video above, the award-winning retailer discusses some of the major ideas of the book, along with human resources, learning opportunities and retailing in an urban environment. 

The story of A Few Cool Hardware Stores and its history of hiring people who are recovering from addiction or other issues were highlighted in a video produced by Ace Hardware Corp. in its “Ace Heartware Stories” series.

The video, Second Chances, can be seen here.

Back in August of 2021, Schaefer was again in the news by way of her company’s move to sell ownership through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, or ESOP.

“The ESOP model allows us to give back to the employees who have done so much for our company, while still aligning with the culture we’re proud to have built over the last 20 years of business,” Schaefer said at the time of the ESOP announcement.

Founded in 2003, the company is projected to transfer 100% ownership to their 250+ employees through the ESOP trust over the next several years.

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