'Perfect service is the goal' once Wayne’s Ace Hardware & Home opens this month
The sign has been changed, trucks have started bringing in inventory and the lot has had workers out for a while now, and this month, Ace Hardware & Home is finally set to open its Wayne location.
Though he was hesitant to give an exact date, Steve LeGrand, one of the investors responsible for bringing Ace to town, said as an essential business, the store will open mid to late April. While many community members are excited for the store to open in the old Shopko location, LeGrand said his employees have been equally ready to open.
"I think they're very excited," LeGrand said. "Every day is like Christmas for them. Everyday they open new boxes."
Those boxes are filled with a wide variety of products and more will come the longer the store is open. LeGrand said Wayne's Ace will feature health and beauty products, Hallmark, crafting goods, a garden center, bicycles and scooters, swing set accessories, toys, linens, baby goods and beyond.
Even if certain products aren't available right away when the store opens, LeGrand said he hopes customers will be understanding.
"A lot of trade shows have been canceled, so coronavirus has slowed us down," he said.
It may have slowed the company down, but it certainly hasn't stopped them. Wayne's store is completely unique. Le-Grand said the size of the building puts Wayne's location in the top 10 percent of Ace stores in North America and offers a completely exclusive shopping experience.
"No other store is as unique as this. This store has been completely customized to fit the community," LeGrand said.
Ace's investment team has held meetings and spoken with community members to find out exactly what it is the store needs to carry without too much overlap into businesses already operating in the town.
"It's going to be new stuff, it's not Shopko - that's the goal," LeGrand said. "We're going to give people what they missed and what they were going out of town for. We tried to think about what's already in the city versus what's not in the city. Ace focuses on residential business without taking away from downtown."
From a wide variety of tools, including Stihl, Honda and Toro, to car seats, outdoor accessories and beyond, Ace will continue to adjust to fit Wayne's shopping needs.
"It takes two to three years to adjust the inventory to support the community," Le-Grand said. "The way the store looks day one is going to look very different in three years, we're always (going to be) re-evaluating."
LeGrand said despite the inventory changing, one thing will remain constant, the emphasis on quality service.
"Perfect service is the goal," he said. "We strive to train all of our employees to be great."
Ace's core values include: winning, excellence, love, integrity, gratitude, helpfulness and teamwork, and Wayne's locations has hired employees to embody all of those things.
"That's a tremendous satisfaction at the end of the day, knowing you spent your entire day helping others," LeGrand said.
Wayne's Ace will employ eight to nine full time employees and nine to twelve part time employees with that number going up eventually, according to LeGrand. Right now, the employees are stocking shelves and getting ready for opening day, but a lot of work has come before. LeGrand and his fellow investors are thankful for the community support. Throughout the process, the investment group have tried to use local contractors and goods as much as possible.
"It takes a different set of talent to create a store," LeGrand said. "I just want to thank all of the people out there who have come to townhalls, put in their input and all of the contractors, investors and all the people who helped."
More information can be found by searching Wayne Ace Hardware & Home on Facebook.