Homer and Sandy Mills purchased a building and gas station business on Canton Rd. on the north side of Carrollton just before the Labor Day holiday in 1991. They closed the business one day and opened up the next, using a cigar box for a cash drawer.
Next week, their business, Carrollton Ace Hardware, will celebrate its 25th anniversary with an event to thank customers.
“We’re celebrating 25 years because we live in a great community and have wonderful employees,” said Sandy. “The community residents have been wonderful customers to us over the years. We are grateful to them for their support. We also have excellent employees who provide wonderful customer service.”
The anniversary celebration is planned Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and includes hot dogs, popcorn, beverages, cookies and cake, door prizes, give-aways and specials on merchandise.
The business has a history of growth almost from day one.
Less than a month after purchasing the business, they applied for and received approval to open an Ace Hardware. The first renovation to the building included knocking down the block walls that separated the gas station and building and adding shelving to stock Ace products.
Over the years services were added, including Amerigas propane and kerosene, Marathon gasoline and a screen repair shop.
An expansion project in 2012 added 1,000 square feet of retail space to the business, which allowed for better display of projects and expanded departments. The office area was relocated and new restrooms were built. Additional warehouse space was added as well.
On April 28, 2014, the family unveiled a transformation of the paint department, which became known as The Paint Studio. At that time, Valspar paints, exclusive to Ace Hardware, was added to compliment Ace’s Clark + Kensington paint line.
The store has received the Ace Hardware Performance Retailer award three times, the most recent in 2015.
Manager Kim Mills said the store is also Ace Hardware Helpful 201 Customer Engagement certified, the highest certification available through Ace Harware.
“All our employees completed certification training,” Kim noted. “It was a two-year process, but helps our employees meet the needs of our customers.”
Kim noted a couple new changes to the store lineup including the re-introduction of Carolina boots and the addition of online ordering for in-store pickup. Customers can view the Carrollton Ace Hardware inventory on www.acehardware.com, make a purchase and pick it up in the store an hour later.
Along with Kim, the management team includes Chris Nichols, office manager; Bob Arnold, assistant manager and Gary Campbell, special/outside sales.
Her sister, Cathy, a longtime employee of the store, is now a volunteer board member.
Hours are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The business can be reached by calling 330-627-4344.