Ace Hardware is a name you might find very familiar, even if you are located in a large city that has numerous newer big-box home centers. The Ace Hardware store near you might be the friendly and convenient smaller hardware specialty store you have visited for years, or it might be a store you have passed by on your way to the larger plain-vanilla home improvement big-box stores.
There is a world of difference between an Ace Hardware store and a giant big-box home improvement center. I can think of all sorts of ways to compare the two different stores based upon my years of personal buying experiences at both businesses.
An Ace Hardware store is ideal for a person with limited mobility or a walking disability. Ace Hardware stores are often much smaller than a giant big-box improvement store, so you can get to the products you need with fewer steps. Exercise is a good thing, but once you visit a smaller Ace Hardware store, you will appreciate the coziness of the shopping experience.
Ace Hardware stores often have every hardware item you could ever want. They frequently stock items not available in other stores. You usually do not have to buy a bag of screws if you just need one. Yes, if you need just one screw or one nail, you can often buy just that at an Ace Hardware store. Visit a smaller hardware store and you will be amazed at the variety and quality of the products.
The employees who work at many Ace Hardware stores often have real hands-on home-repair experience. Many have years of both repair and sales experience, and know the problem areas with each repair job. You can't always count on that from the employees at many of the big-box home improvement centers. Occasionally, you will run into an employee at a big-box store who knows what she or he is talking about, but your odds of getting good advice each shopping trip might be better at a smaller hardware store.
Don't believe for a moment all of the hyped advertising you see from the big-box stores about how they are the low-cost leaders. Always remember, you get what you pay for. If a product is cheap, there may be a reason. Secondly, the large big-box stores operate like grocery stores have for years. They have loss-leader products. This means they sell one product at a low price, but make up the profit on a related product that is often needed to complete the job. Ace Hardware stores offer competitive pricing, and you can prove it with ease.
Speed of Transaction
After you have walked up and down the long aisles of the big-box stores, you often have to wait and wait at the checkout lines. Yes, some stores have self-service checkout registers, but I have found these to be clogged with people or worse yet, bogged down with a consumer who does not know how to work the machine.
Visit a smaller Ace Hardware, and there are rarely any traffic jams at the checkout. You pay for your items, and are out the door in moments. That has always been my experience. My time is valuable, and I am willing to pay a small amount more so I do not have to wait for five or 10 minutes while someone ahead of me fumbles for a checkbook or ID.
Ace Hardware stores are not the only small hardware stores. Another national chain called True Value Company has a network of over 6,000 independent small hardware stores across the world. I visit a local True Value hardware store just a few miles from my own home on a weekly basis. It is a delight to be able to find exactly what I want at a competitive price, and be back out to my car in just minutes. I have never had to wait in a long line to complete a purchase there.