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State by state: Hardware store all stars

From New York's Island to the Redwood Forests, the great American hardware store maintains a revered place in commercial history of these United States. 

The May issue of Home Channel News compiled the first-ever Hardware Store All Star list. Here are three of the 50: standout stores from Alabama, Alaska and Arizona. 

• Alabama

Marvin's Home Centers. Home Channel News' 2010 Retailer of the Year, Leeds, Ala.-based Marvin's Home Centers is continuing to fine-tune its model, and is expecting to open its 27th store this month in Monroeville, Ala. Store design plays a big factor in service -- wide aisles and a friendly solution center in the exact center of the store. "All of our stores have a 'hometown' feel," said CEO Darrin Gilliam. 

• Alaska

Spenard Builders Supply. Although some of its 21 locations are more heavily weighted toward building materials, Spenard serves every kind of customer, from military contractors to homeowners. And they’re definitely making a pitch for consumer business with DIY clinics, “Bon Appetit” cooking demos, and a website (sbsalaska.com) that shows happy homeowners enjoying their decks and painting their walls. Anchorage, Ala.-based Spenard Builders Supply has such a strong presence in Alaska, it’s  one of the few divisions of ProBuild that got a pass from the company-wide rebranding initiative.

• Arizona

Pinnacle Peak Ace Hardware. John and Robin Arterburn opened this Ace Hardware store in Scottsdale three years ago hoping to provide an experience that would remind customers of trips to the hardware store with their dad or grandpa. “Our goal is to be the most helpful hardware store on the planet,” he said. Blending old-fashioned customer service with new innovations, the couple created a home decor area called ‘Robin’s nest,’ named after his wife. “Many women consider us their home decor source because Robin finds unique items not found in the chain stores,” John said.

On Thursday: Arkansas, California and Colorado