By MORGAN MANNS
Another hardware store is moving into a North Countyline Street building that once housed Steinacker Hardware.
Officials announced Great Lakes Ace Hardware will be coming to Fostoria this spring. The Michigan-based company hopes to open its first Ohio location at 1656 N. Countyline St. in March with a grand opening set for April.
“We thought it would be a good fit for us from a company standpoint,” Becky Killarney, director of marketing, said. “We like being in smaller towns and we were looking to expand our footprints geographically. We have some people in the company with familiarity doing business in Ohio so we saw it as an opportunity.”
The 90,126-square-foot property was left vacant on the last day of August 2017 when Steinacker Hardware closed its doors. Officials had said considerably slower foot traffic over nearly a decade had made it difficult to continue profitable operations.
A liquidation sale began in July and lasted throughout the month of August before the doors closed for good.
While Great Lakes Ace is leasing the building, Killarney said the company is already completing renovations to the interior, such as new floors and new fixtures.
The store will offer merchandise from basic heating, electric and cooling items and lumber to more selective items such as grills, a paint department and heavy duty coolers, as well as options to get hunting and fishing licenses, rent carpet cleaners, exchange propane tanks to be filled, get a screen repaired, have keys made and more.
“Our services are really broad,” Killarney said. “We have everything from your basics to unique little gift items for last minute gifts or to just treat yourself. Our items encourage people to stay and wander.”
Great Lakes Ace is a chain of 47 neighborhood hardware stores operating in Michigan. According to the website, it is the largest independently-owned Ace Hardware store chain in the country with more than 70 years of hardware experience.
Overall, the company employs about 710 associates. Killarney said the Fostoria location is currently hiring roughly 12-15 employees for positions such as cashiers, shift supervisors and sales associates.
To see the job listings on Great Lakes Ace Hardware, visit www.greatlakesace.com and select Careers under the Support Center tab.
Founded in 1946 as the Hardware Depot by the Traskos brothers of Dearborn, Michigan, the company grew to four locations by 1959, at which point it joined the Ace Hardware cooperate and changed the name to ACE Budget Center.
In 1981, the chain grew to 36 stores and left the Ace organization to operate independently under the name of ACO Hardware but, in 2014, it rejoined the Ace Hardware co-op under the banner of Great Lakes Ace Hardware.
The relationship provides “national chain buying power, access to hundreds of thousands of products and premium merchandise brands,” the website states.
“At the same time, we are able to provide our customers with a localized product mix and a friendly neighborhood hardware store experience,” it reads.
In addition, the company tries to give back to the neighborhoods they serve by working with area schools and non-profit groups to raise funds or host local community events or demonstrations.
According to the company’s brochure, it is involved with charities such as Children’s Miracle Network, the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity and Know Your Neighbor.
“We firmly believe in customer-focused services,” Killarney said. “We firmly believe in being part of the community more than just doing the business. In our current locations, we pride ourselves on customer service. We have a product selection that reflects the needs of the community as well as things added on to that.”
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.greatlakesace.com.