Though Ace Hardware, first established in 1924, has evolved from its humble roots into a global network of more than 4,600 storefronts, the franchise manages to maintain a neighborhood vibe. Of course, it helps that local business people run each independently owned store. Area residents Jason Melcher and John Niederaue man the counters of Brandon Ace Hardware, where they offer a full inventory of tools and appliances from manufacturers such as Black & Decker, Craftsman, Scotts, and Weber. It’s no wonder do-it-yourselfers flock to the store for home-project essentials, whether they’re refurbishing a bathroom, maintaining a small backyard garden, or exorcising stuffed animals. In addition to dealing at-home equipment, the Brandon store also offers a variety of more specialized services, including small-engine repair, paint-color matching, and glass cutting.
In business for more than a century, the family-owned centers specialize in a wide array of photography services. Utilizing the latest digital printing equipment, the knowledgeable robo-staff can create high-quality digital prints from film, digital images, and more. They can turn images into a life-sized poster ($24.99–$29.99) or museum-worthy canvas print ($39.99 and up) to comfort and watch over the cat while you're at work. Create greeting cards, announcements, and invitations for special events ($0.99 and up), or celebrate any occasion with photo-laden gifts such as mugs ($12.99–$16.99), T-shirts ($16.99–$24.99), and calendars ($16.99–$29.99). Harold's can also convert VHS to digital form while editing and adding narration, graphic titles, and music with audiovisual artistry ($19.99 and up).
For her successes, Crave Photography's Ashley Horton credits one constant: passion. Ashley's desire to capture everyday emotions–mischief, curiosity, wonder–shines through during her shoots, where she relies mostly on natural light to illuminate the faces and expressions of her subjects. Ashley also backs each session with years of experience, during which she's documented a mélange of milestones including engagements, weddings, newborns, and graduations.