With Walmart on the Horizon, Intown Ace Hardware Keeps Adapting

The store on Scott Boulevard has expanded its garden department, for example.

What does the coming of Walmart to nearby Suburban Plaza mean to a small store like ?

One of the owners, Tony Powers, says it means even more change, adaptivity and creativity, according to Michelle Hiskey, a writer for the Saporta Report. Hiskey writes,

For Powers and his business partner Dave Jones, who benefit from the Ace national buying collective, that transformation meant ordering Adirondack chairs in sherbet colors; devoting prime shelf space to Decatur-logoed license plates and apparel; letting loose with fun events such as a staff Pirate Day, documented on the store’s website.

Walk in at the right time, and you can scoop your own bag of popcorn freshly popped in the old-fashioned cart near the front register. Across the aisle is a counter lined with old wooden baseball bats – collected first by a lawyer who lived next door, who bartered them for rent when Intown Hardware expanded. In lieu of advertising, the store prefers to sponsor youth teams, school auctions and community fundraisers. Ask a cashier about their year-round inventory of Girl Scout cookies.

The adapt-or-die attitude is nothing new. A little more than a year ago and emphasis on customer service. The story said,

In fact, the store recently expanded, buying the property next door to widen its thriving garden center, and sales have steadily increased for more than a decade, said store co-founder Dave Jones.

He knows the secret to success, and he’s willing to share it.

“Service is our priority,” said Jones. “You go to a lot of places and they’ve got stuff. But at our store, we have employees who will tell you everything you want to know about an item. And we’ll treat you the same if you’re spending $15 or $1,500.”

Patti Ghezzi April 24, 2012 at 04:09 PM
I love Intown Ace! I can always find the random little doo-dads I need. It's also great for gifts. Service is excellent.
Diane Loupe April 24, 2012 at 04:11 PM
I'm another fan of Intown Ace.The guys there know their stuff and will help me save money by telling me what I need to fix something. And the money I spend benefits my local community. Plus, this store is quite generous to local schools and community causes.
Sally G April 24, 2012 at 06:54 PM
As the owner of one of the soon-to-be-ousted (sigh) shops in Suburban Plaza I can only say I love love love the Ace - those guys have helped us in many ways over the last ten years and because of them we will continue to use them first choice in our new location (when we find it!:) The serivce is great and they don't look at me like I've got two heads when I ask some really crazy questions about how to do special projects for the shop.
Angela Fisher April 24, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Our family loves Intown Ace! My hubby shops there for plants, paint, Big Green Egg supplies, you name it. I buy everything from kids' toys to Auburn mugs to Lillibands there. The exceptional customer service and product offerings will keep it as one of our go-to retail shops - regardless of whatever lands at Suburban Plaza.
Deanne April 24, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Intown Ace is in a league of its own, and it's wonderful to see all the love they're reaping! :0) * Walmart's plans include a small bump-out from the main building where advertised seasonal specials-- Easter lilies, poinsettias, and Spring promos like next week's 1 gallon annuals, etc., will be available. To assure everyone that a garden center won't be added on later, Walmart and Selig agreed to mark their plans with permissable building areas (meaning they cannot build out past the buildings as drawn, other than for slight adjustments needed after site engineering).
Robert April 25, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Please note that the proposed Walmart WILL have a garden center, as confirmed by Bill Wertz, Director of Media & Community relations, in the Saporta Report story: [Note: After this story was published, Wal-Mart's Director of Community & Media Relations, William C. "Bill" Wertz, notified me of this correction: "There will be a garden center in our new store. It was overlooked in some preliminary discussions with the community, but we corrected that back in October of 2011. The GC [garden center] is in our official application and has been discussed at multiple public meetings and approved by the [DeKalb] county board of zoning appeals.”]
mark April 25, 2012 at 12:09 PM
So is Walmart a done deal???
Gina Hill April 25, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Intown ACE rocks. If I haven't been in a while, I like to drop in just to see what's new. I love to buy gifts there and I even take out-of-town guests. They love it too!
Robert April 25, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Good Growth DeKalb's stance is that Walmart is NOT a done deal. The only movement thus far is a parking exception granted by the County. No permits have been applied for or granted by the County. Walmart would have you believe that everything is wrapped up tight, and some elected officials echo that sentiment. But if citizens of the surrounding communities come together to fight the incursion of Walmart, we can stop it. With the news of Walmart's illegal and unethical business practices in Mexico, I'm now concerned not only about Walmart's detrimental impact on our local economy and our community, but about the company's undue influence in DeKalb County. If you want to fight Walmart, then it is not a done deal. Decatur and DeKalb deserve better!
Mary Snodgrass April 25, 2012 at 03:46 PM
I find when I am at a loss for gift items, ACE comes thru. Cool stuff
Steve April 26, 2012 at 01:41 PM
@Robert - how about citing the legal, not moral, reasons that you think are the basis for stopping the development.
Mary Brittain June 01, 2012 at 01:55 PM
ACE is such a treat...in every way. Love Tony and staff! I will continue to support them (and our other locals)....I don't understand why a Walmart is being considered in that area anyway. The Big Lots and Family Dollar are already there....Avondale (where one exists) isn't that far away....geez...


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