As Hagan Ace Hardware prepares to open its 11th location in north Florida, the company builds on four generations of retail hardware experience by embracing new technology and remaining true to business principles that have sustained the company for six decades.
The Green Cove Springs staff was fired up for Ladies Night.
Hagan Ace Hardware’s retail heritage extends more than six decades and starts with founders Don and Ann Brandies Hagan. Raised in Callahan, Fla., Don Hagan worked at Brandies Home and Farm Supply, owned by Ann’s parents, Cliff and Lucille Brandies. After Don and Ann married in 1955, they worked together at her parents’ hardware store. There, Don and Ann discovered their love for the hardware business, and the couple went on to purchase their own store in Hilliard, Fla., in 1962.
Their son, Bill, took over the family business in 1990. In 2005, Bill’s son, Jacob, joined the company. Jacob currently serves as director of store operations.
Hagan Ace’s store in Yulee, Fla., includes Hagan Coastal Outfitters.
Bill, Don and Jacob Hagan represent three generations of family leadership.
“To know that we’re carrying on as the fourth generation is pretty humbling,” Jacob says. “It’s rewarding to know that we’ve helped so many people over time—not just our customers but the people who work for us. Helping people is fun; it feels good.”
This summer, Hagan Ace Hardware is poised to open its 11th store in Callahan, around the corner from the original Brandies Hardware location. The company has come full circle by methodically expanding, adhering to longtime values, developing niche categories, embracing new technology and marketing while providing outstanding customer service.
Today, the 370-plus-employee company boasts stores that range from its 9,000-square-foot East Palatka location to the 60,000-square-foot store in Callahan currently under construction. Each store features a distinct personality—two stores have drive-through lumberyards and all have garden centers with butterfly habitats.
Bill and Debbie Hagan and their son Jacob are carrying on the tradition of service started by Bill’s parents.
‘We Strive for Five’ Customer Care
Outstanding customer service is a bedrock principle throughout the four generations of Hagan hardware history. To gauge customer satisfaction, Hagan Ace utilizes Ace’s review system, which uses receipts to encourage customers to leave reviews. Reviews are sent to the store manager, operations team and HR. From there, the company evaluates, congratulates and coaches employees to be five-star performers.
As director of store operations, Jacob Hagan has embraced new technology systems.
One location had several three- and four-star reviews, instead of the desired five-star reviews. So, the store manager challenged cashiers to ask customers if they would like to take a brief, in-person survey. If customers couldn’t give a five-star review, they were asked if they would like to speak to the manager for just two minutes. After the success of that approach, the “We Strive for Five” program was rolled out companywide in 2022.
“If we didn’t do right in the customer’s eyes, we want to know why,” says Tera Lageman, director of advertising and marketing. “We can’t fix what we don’t know about. And after the manager spent some time with the customers, a lot of those reviews turned into fives simply because the manager was able to directly address the customers’ concerns and show how much we care. The person-to-person contact is invaluable.”