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Ahoskie Ace announces expansion

Taking part in the formal announcement of the Ace Home Center of Ahoskie’s expansion to Murfreesboro are, from left, Jamie Johnson, Joe Perz, Roy Sharpe, Kim Cribb, Brian Hedspeth, Jeff Jenkins, Eley Whitehead and Dennis Robertson. Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

AHOSKIE – One of Ahoskie’s most successful business owners will expand his operations to Murfreesboro.

Jamie Johnson, the longtime owner of Ace Home Center located on Memorial Drive, made it official earlier this week by announcing his plans to expand to Murfreesboro. Johnson will take ownership of the former Ace Hardware store at 415 West Main Street. That Ace location closed last year.

Johnson said he plans to have the Murfreesboro store open by no later than March 1, 2011.

“We’re doing a complete remodel on the inside,” Johnson said. “We have finalized plans for the product mix. We’re in the process of making this expansion as seamless as possible. We’re looking to having the support of the Murfreesboro community to make this happen.”

While his business ventures, to date, have been in Ahoskie, the Johnson name is well-known in the Murfreesboro retail market.

“It’s not that I’m going in as a complete stranger; my mother grew up in Murfreesboro, my granddad had a business there; my uncle and my dad had businesses there,” Johnson said. “We’re excited about having Ace Hardware of Ahoskie expand to the Murfreesboro market.

“It’s not about Jamie Johnson, it’s the Ace team,” he continued. “If I went over there without the support of my team, I couldn’t make it happen. Everyone here is pretty darn excited about this expansion over to Murfreesboro.”

One current Ace of Ahoskie employee is certainly thrilled about the expansion.

“This will be one of the greatest things to happen in Murfreesboro in quite a while,” said Eley Whitehead, a Murfreesboro native who has worked at the Ahoskie Ace for the past 13 years.

The expansion was also exciting to Ace corporate officials.

“We’re excited because with such a successful retailer like Jamie Johnson, with his creativity, a closed property in Murfreesboro will re-open under the Ace banner,” stated Joe Perz, Market Development Manager for the Ace Hardware Corporation of Hickory, NC. “We’re growing; we plan to open 100 new stores and our best avenue of growth is with successful retailers like Jamie. In fact, after he gets this one up and running we may come back to him in a few years and see if he’s ready to open store number three.”

“In my time working in eastern North Carolina and in Murfreesboro I had so many people to tell me how excited they are to have Jamie Johnson open an Ace store there,” noted Jeff Jenkins, District Manager for the Eastern Division of Ace Hardware Corporation. “They know it will be first class and they know he will support the community. In addition to general hardware items he will have some unique items specific to the area.”

“The real beauty of this is that the local area will have two Ace stores to shop…if one is out of a certain item and it’s in stock at the other we’ll be able to place that item in a customer’s hands in a very short period of time,” Perz concluded. “Both stores can benefit from each other, and so can the customers.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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