Wally Lewis was the very first employee hired by Miner’s Ace Hardware in 1956. After 66 years of loyalty and helpful service he hangs his vest up one last time and retires at the age of 95.
In 1956, brothers Lee and Glen Miner opened a hardware store in Grover Beach, Calif., immediately west of the current location at 1056 W. Grand Avenue. They were carrying on a family tradition, as their parents, Abe and Bee Miner, already owned a hardware store in Culver City. With the help of their first employee, Wally Lewis, who continued to work at the Grover Beach store all these years, the Miners embarked on a journey that would ultimately become a nine-store Ace Hardware chain that was honored with a 2020 Beacon Award for Community Service by The Hardware Connection.
Wally always said he would retire at the age of 95 and that day has come, which makes him the top candidate for both the longest and oldest employee in Ace Hardware’s history—a true legend.
“Miner’s is still a family-owned and operated business and I think this really means something. It has been a good place to work. The customers are nice and it’s always fun when somebody comes in with some weird home repair problem and we are able to fix it,” Wally comments about his career.
“We are so proud to celebrate his loyalty and commitment, which is extraordinary in this current environment of staffing shortage and massive turnover rates,” says Laurel Cadena, marketing director of Miner’s Ace.
Wally will still be in every Miner’s Hardware store, as they have immortalized him into a stuffed toy kids hunt for throughout the hardware store to win a Wally pop.
Ace Hardware did a Facebook feature a few years ago asking their Facebook community to celebrate Wally, one the longest-working employees, and got an amazing response with 40k likes, 823 comments and 1.3k shares.
Ace Hardware created an amazing HeartWare story a couple years ago to showcase just how special Wally the Hardware Legend is. He will be greatly missed by his co-workers and the customers he served faithfully for 66 years.