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Continued from February 2017 issue pdf page 1 ~ Hardware Stores

Adams Morgan Ace Hardware

Not only do Gina Schaefer and Marc Friedman own and operate their popular Logan hardware on 14th Street (see above), but almost exactly one yaer ago at the beginning of March, they opened their new location at 17th Street and Columbia Road, NW, the site of the former Ontario Theater.

Adams Morgan Ace Hardware. photo--courtesy 5th Street Ace Hardware.

Adams Morgan Ace Hardware. photo–courtesy 5th Street Ace Hardware.

 Designed to reflect the needs of the neighborhood’s ethnically and economically diverse apartment dwellers and row house homeowners often needing help with everyday maintenance projects, staff expertise is always on tap in this 5,000 square-foot store along with an extensive array of products from housewares to tools to  paint, and garden supplies, to name but a few caregories.

As Schaefer said at the time of last year’s opening, “We have wanted to be in Adams Morgan for many years now, so opening in such an iconic location [was] very exciting for us.”

5th Street Ace Hardware

Opened seven years ago on the eastern fringe of the then — and continuing — redeveloping Mt. Vernon Square neighborhood, this store has become a mainstay and valued resource for the surrounding area. But even more than that, the owners have developed lasting relationships inthe community.

5th Street Ace Hardware. photo--courtesy 5th Street Ace Hardware.

5th Street Ace Hardware. photo–courtesy 5th Street Ace Hardware.

A good example of this was the recently held sixth annual “do-it-yourself for women” event held in conjunction with with the Mt. Verson Triangle Community Improvement District. Held early in the evening of Sunday, February 11th, women — and men also — were able to visit with and ask questions and get advice from over a dozen product vendors, obtain product samples, learn new DIY skills, and enjoy complimentary wine and locally made appetrizers

In response to our question about the customer base, store manager Brad Johanson-Smith said that a substantial portion of its customers seem to be from about a two-and-a-half mile radius and are a mix of occupants of the older row houses immediately to the north as well as residents of the new, large apartment buildings and developments like City Vista. He also mentioned that they get lots of business from nearby businesses and contractors engaged in residential and commercial projects.

Annie’s Ace Hardware – Petworth

Owner Annie Stom describes why she opened the hardware store. “In 2006, I bought a house in the Park View neighborhood [just to the east of Columbia Heights and south of Petworth] that needed a ton of renovation. Although I hired electricians and plumbers, I did much of the other work myself at night after work and on the weekends which required a bazillion trips to Home Depot which wasn’t a great experience.

“Our neighborhood was changing, with lots of young people moving in and lots of renovation going on so it occurred to me that I wasn’t one of the only ones experiencing this frustration. What I didn’t realize — and shame on me for not realizing this — but people who had lived in Petworth, Park View, and Columbia Heights for years were also hungry for a nearby place to purchase hardware and home goods. And — and — this is the really important part, get knowledgeable and friendly customer service.

“So, in 2010 I began exploring options to open a retail hardware store. I decided to go with Ace Hardware because they are a cooperative, not a franchise and they provide great support, a tremendous brand, and a huge selection of quality products.

“The decision to open the store on Upshur Street was really one of availability. I needed a space with at least 6,000 square feet all on one floor with parking. I looked for a long time and our building on Upshur Street fit the bill.”

Interior view showing a portion of the much expanded sales floor. photo--courtesy Annie's Ace Hardware.

Interior view showing a portion of the much expanded sales floor. photo–courtesy Annie’s Ace Hardware.

As for the recent expansion of the store, described how it came about: “The original plan was to lease the entire 12,400 square-foot first floor, but the bank, Ace, and the landlord were a bit wary about that. To make the numbers work, we were only able to lease about 7,000 square feet of the [then] available 9,700 square feet. We just weren’t certain that the neighborhood was ready for it. Well, thankfully, we were wrong! So we gradually expanded, first adding an additional 1,100 square feet and finally, [a year ago] January, the remaining 1,600 square feet.”

*Larry Ray, a resident of Columbia Heights, is Senior Adjunct Professor at The George Washington University School of Law. He has served as a former multi-term Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in both Dupont Circle and later in Columbia Heights and has also served as President of the North Columbia Heights Civic Association.

Copyright © 2017 InTowner Publishing Corp. & Larry Ray. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited, except as provided by 17 U.S.C. §§107 & 108 (“fair use”).