Ace Hardware Corp. is proud to recognize two local Ace Hardware stores with the company’s 10th annual “Coolest Hardware Store” awards. Ace Hardware selects only a handful of Ace stores annually to receive this coveted recognition—all based on how well the store differentiates its offerings, services and culture to meet the needs of the community.
The winning stores are Gemmen’s Home & Hardware in Hudsonville, Mich., and Strand Ace Hardware in Escalon, Calif. These stores share common traits yet offer unique product assortments and locally relevant flavor above and beyond most hardware stores.
“With more than 5,400 Ace locations around the world, no two stores are the same,” said John Kittell, vice president, retail operations and new business for Ace. “Each independently owned and operated store provides a shopping experience that is locally relevant to the communities they serve. The teams at Gemmen’s Home & Hardware and Strand Ace Hardware embody the unique and helpful spirit that makes Ace great.”
Click here to find videos of both stores.
Gemmen’s Home & Hardware
Gemmen’s Home & Hardware has served the Hudsonville, Mich., community for more than 65 years. Customers travel from a far to see the vast product selection that the store has to offer and experience the outstanding service from expert staff in each department.
Gemmen’s Home & Hardware is 42,000 square feet of retail space that boasts unique store decor and a locally relevant product assortment. In addition to offering top brands in paint, power tools and grills, Gemmen’s has an innovative toy department, an expanded housewares department with local and regional gifts, and niche decor from local artisans. The store also features brands such as Red Wing Boots, Carhartt and Cub Cadet.
Reaching out to the community has always been at the heart of the Gemmen’s team. Whether it is the store’s annual Mother’s Day and Father’s Day events, special visits with Santa during the holidays or the annual “Ladies Night,” whichhas grown into a highly anticipated local event, Gemmen’s continues to engage the community in fun and relevant ways. In 2020, Gemmen’s adapted and created new, safe ways to connect with customers including virtual visits with Santa and allowing children to virtually nominate parents to receive a special gift for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
In addition to fun events and store promotions, Gemmen’s gives back to the Hudsonville community by sponsoring the local Little League team and the Hudsonville “Green Team,” which helps keep the local parks and nature center clean. The store also offers a series called Gemmen’s Workbench, free informational webinars for the community on topics related to home, crafting and hardware.
Strand Ace Hardware
Originally founded by the Strand Brothers in 1946, Strand Ace Hardware was purchased by the Swanson Family in 1975 and has grown from a 2,500-square-foot building to more than 28,500 square feet of retail space to better serve the Escalon, Calif., community.
Strand Ace Hardware currently consists of two buildings and an outdoor garden center. The south building has 16,500 square feet with more traditional hardware department including paint, plumbing, electrical and lawn and garden in addition to product assortments specific to the local community. The north building has 12,000 square feet of retail space dedicated to outdoor living products including grills and patio furniture. The north building also features a small engine repair shop and lumber department.
Strand Ace Hardware also creates fun and unique experiences that engage the community. From in-store events such as grill demo days, kid craft days and an annual “Party on the Patio” customer appreciation night to participating in the “Christmas on Main” downtown light parade, Strand Ace Hardware is focused on connecting with the Escalon community. The Swanson family takes pride in supporting local organizations in their community including the Boy Scouts, FFA, the high school football team, the Sportsman Club and the Garden Joy Community Garden. Strand Ace Hardware also participates in Ace Children’s Miracle Network events throughout the year.