The 2012 crop of Home Channel News Hardware Store All-Stars marks the second year of the state-by-state accounting of high-performance retailers. The common theme of “excellent customer service” runs through the entire list, but that’s just the beginning.
Here are the honorees from Connecticut, Delaware and Florida:
Washington Supply Co.
Washington Depot, Conn.
Visitors to Washington Supply Co. can monitor the operation’s energy generation and consumption in real time using a 32-in. touchscreen display in the front of the store. Or they can watch the building’s solar photovoltaic system do its thing by clicking a link on the retailer’s website. The $50,000 investment, now 2 years old, generates about one-third of the home center’s energy needs. But the PV system has also drawn visiting dignitaries, eco-tourists and customers interested in buying installed solar panels. It’s positioned Washington Supply as the place to go for green products and building materials in western Connecticut.
Best Ace Hardware
Best Ace hardware has grown from its general store roots to a chain of five Delaware hardware stores with strong niches in lawn and garden and wild bird. So strong, in fact, that the stores offer their own custom-mixed bird seed, Tom Best’s Choice. An emergency roof repair project in 2010 forced the company to rethink its design. “The silver lining was we tried some new things, and we’ve enjoyed success,” said Andrew Best, great-grandson of the founder.
When owner Bill Pastermack first brought fishing equipment into his store on Florida’s space coast, the idea was to take advantage of wholesale pricing for his own excursions. His passion for fishing has helped create a destination niche for sportsmen as far away as Orlando. Fishing for niches such as pet, paint and even sunglasses is a passion for Ace Hardware of Titusville. The latest: a standalone surf shop called Go Native.