Todd Jones knows hardware. It’s in his blood. His family ran the hardware store in Spring Valley since 1965, and for many years it operated as a Coast to Coast Hardware store, then due to a merger became a True Value store. Todd took over the family business in 2003, and in 2013 the store moved to the current location at 630 North Pleasant in Spring Valley (next to Kwik Trip and the Valley Meat Locker).
In June of this year, the store officially became an Ace Hardware store, and Todd explained that, although he has had a good experience with True Value over many years, “True Value and Ace have been running neck and neck through the years. I think Ace has started to pull away from them a little bit. They went a little harder hitting toward the national advertising, and I think it’s gotten to be more of a name-brand thing… So they’ve been after me for about three years, and last year I finally started to give it some consideration. Their big thing was cheaper cost of goods, cheaper freight rate, and Craftsman tools.”
Todd says he attended an Ace Hardware event at which he got to speak with a number of store owners who have switched to Ace, and, “There wasn’t one of them that had a bad word to say about switching to Ace.” So he decided to make the changeover. Todd says the major challenge was remaining open while suddenly pulling out all of the True Value items, and swapping them out with Ace products. Thankfully, Todd says a neighboring business owner, Tim Warren, came to his rescue. Tim allowed Todd to use Tim’s truck docks to store about 250 large totes full of True Value merchandise. Without that help, Todd says he doesn’t know what he would have done. He also told of the videos that Ace made of his store, showing the complete changeover of merchandise and store layout. Drones with video recorders were used in the store, to create a visual record of the sudden changes.
When asked what are the major differences in the store, Todd pointed out that Ace focuses very strongly on customer service. He also mentioned the “Learning Place” program, in which Ace employees are able to complete online trainings to become more knowledgeable about various parts of their jobs. Todd added that as an Ace store, he offers key cutting, blade sharpening, rental of carpet machines and other equipment, computerized paint color matching, glass and screen repair, hunting and fishing licenses, propane exchange, and a wide variety of hardware merchandise. He said often when customers come in look for an unusual nut or bolt or widget, they’re surprised to find that the store has it, even after searching unsuccessfully at one of the huge hardware stores in a larger city.
Todd pointed out that this time of year, he expects to sell a lot of fall and winter items (rakes, leaf bags, window insulation kits, shovels, ice melt, etc.), and added that although he only keeps a small stock of snowblowers on hand, he can usually offer them at prices that compete favorably against the huge stores. Todd and his seven employees welcome you to come in and see the new layout and new merchandise, or even just to say “howdy.”