‘Cool’ trophy

Published 6:51 pm Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ace Hardware employees listen as their store was praised during a ceremony held Tuesday that deemed them to work for the “Coolest Store on the Planet.” Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

Ace Hardware employees listen as their store was praised during a ceremony held Tuesday that deemed them to work for the “Coolest Store on the Planet.” Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

AHOSKIE – Most everyone in the local area knows that Ace Hardware of Ahoskie is a “cool” place to shop….they didn’t need an early dose of winter weather to remind them of that fact.

Despite the presence of light snow accompanied by rapidly falling temperatures, a huge crowd turned out here Tuesday evening to help Ace owner Jamie Johnson and his employees celebrate an esteem honor bestowed on the locally owned and operated hardware store.

Ace Hardware Corporation has recognized the Ahoskie store with a 2013 “Coolest Hardware Store” award. Of 4,700 Ace Hardware stores worldwide, Ace Hardware of Ahoskie is one of just six stores honored with this year’s award.

“The team at Ace Hardware of Ahoskie is delighted to receive this tremendous recognition,” said Johnson, who also owns and operates Ace Hardware of Murfreesboro. “Our dedicated team at both stores strives to ensure that every customer that walks through our door has a one-of-a-kind experience, always treated like a neighbor.”

At Tuesday night’s festivities, Johnson pointed out the longevity of his employees, noting four team members each having over 30 years of service; and five others who have been employed with Ace for 15 years or longer.

So, what makes Ace of Ahoskie different than the run-of-the-mill hardware store? It offers more than the average hardware store; it also carries one of the most distinctive gift shops in the community. Additionally, the store features a robust paint department as well as a great selection of seasonal lawn and garden plants and products as well as outdoor furniture, conveniently situated on the store’s “front porch.” Area residents also appreciate the convenience of the store’s wide ranging services, including glass repair, automotive chip key cutting and UPS® shipping.

Giving back to the local community is also a passion for the team at Ace Hardware of Ahoskie. They host annual events for the community….one of which was recently held on Halloween that provided a fun, safe environment for more than 1,000 area children. Ace of Ahoskie also hosts highly anticipated Spring Fling and Holiday Open House events that entertain hundreds with quality food and entertainment. Moreover, the store hosts an annual luncheon recognizing Administrative Assistant’s Day, special Chamber of Commerce events, blood drives, parades and donations to local food pantries.

“We applaud the team at Ace Hardware of Ahoskie for their commitment to providing a consistently amazing shopping experience for the local community,” said Kane Calamari, vice president of retail operations and new business at Ace Hardware Corporation. “Our national brand, combined with the entrepreneurial spirit of our local owner ensures that Ace stores around the globe can differentiate themselves to compete and win.”

Ace Hardware District Manager Jeff Jenkins also applauded the Ahoskie and Murfreesboro stores for being among his best and for “continuously trying to improve on yesterday’s performance.”

Jenkins recognized not only the staff at the Ahoskie and Murfreesboro stores, but also stated that the residents of Hertford County have been very supportive of the stores as well.

“In today’s environment, shoppers have any number of big boxes from which they can choose to shop. It’s clear the residents of HertfordCounty appreciate great service. They, in turn, reward the Ace stores by keeping much of their shopping local.”

Johnson agreed, saying, “Without a great staff and without our loyal customers, we would not be able to support the local community the way we do.”

Recently, Jamie and Becky Johnson along with their daughter, Loftin, were recognized at Ace’s Platinum Conference in Las Vegas; a three-day symposium that brings together Ace’s top-performing store management from around the country. Ace Hardware of Ahoskie was also recognized at the Platinum Conference as the only store out of 4,700 Ace stores across the globe that has received both the coveted “President’s Award” and the “Coolest Store on the Planet Award.”

Ace Hardware of Ahoskie opened in 1978 when Johnson and his late father Jim Johnson saw the opportunity for the business.

To view the “Coolest Hardware Store” video online refer to www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgsRuNUYFbk

Across the board, Ace Hardware stores are known for their excellent customer satisfaction and helpfulness. In 2013, the J.D. Power and Associates 2013 U.S. Home Improvement Retailer Store Satisfaction Study again ranked Ace Hardware “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Home Improvement Retail Stores, seven years in a row.


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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