Drill bits twist, measuring tape unfurls, and saws chomp through two-by-fours in ACE Hardware, where shelves dangle with scores of tools and other home-improvement essentials. Wall pigment by Ace Paint and Benjamin Moore beams across the color spectrum as faucet parts and cabinet hardware retool aging abodes and jury-rigged time machines. Large appliances, such as Honeywell space heaters, Perfect Aire air conditioners, and Cadet thermostats, keep indoor air at a comfortable temperature. Outside, bags of seed and compost join charcoal grills to brighten backyard celebrations as rolling hand trucks heft heavy lumber purchases or prefab doghouses for socialite canines. Tools, electrical tape, and other handyman essentials round out each location's array of fixative and creative supplies.
Someone walking up to Cole Hardware for the first time might think they've stumbled upon a modern art gallery instead of a hardware store. Their front window displays everything from Pollock-esque paintings in gilded frames to chandeliers built from Christmas ornaments to a fine-dining table setting re-created with only tools. In fact, all of the eye-catching installations are created using exclusively Cole Hardware merchandise.
But the displays are also a testament to how the shop has set itself apart in other ways—for nearly 100 years, Cole Hardware has been known for exceptional customer service. What started out as a one-man operation with the motto, "There are no strangers here, only friends we haven't met yet," has grown to a family of stores that also provides home repair services and commercial supplies. Their retail inventory is expansive and competitively priced thanks to backing from Ace Hardware, which has helped the company garner awards from SF Weekly and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
On call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Pop-A-Lock harnesses the latest technology to create high-tech keys and service everyday lockouts. Their uniformed technicians—who receive at least 40 hours of hands-on training before going out on jobs—can spring groceries from the backseat during a car-door unlocking ($79) and program most types of transponder keys on the market ($75). Their careful key crafters can also replicate a Chrysler FOBIK or remote-head key ($125) and wield a duo of laser-cutting machines to duplicate high-security keys ($60), which have extra ridges on the tops and sides and are used by many automakers and all anthropomorphic monster trucks.
The licensed and bonded craftsmen at Athena Maintenance & Construction approach every repair and maintenance job with a fresh perspective. They know every home is different, which is why they take time assessing each painting project, window replacement, electrical repair, and carpentry job before quoting an estimate. The benefit of this extra care not only shows in the quality of the labor, but it also keeps expenses within the client's budget.