With humble beginnings in 1924, Ace Hardware now comprises 4,600 stores in all 50 states and in more than 70 countries, guiding everyone from seasoned do-it-yourselfers to novices through its massive inventory. Enlist the aid of a knowledgeable pro while sifting through tools, lawn and garden supplies, electrical equipment, and outdoor-living accessories that simplify the hosting of backyard barbecues and the hanging of Christmas lights on zoo animals. Holiday accessories such as 100-count lights ($9.99) and portable fireplaces ($29.99) aid and imbue celebrations with seasonal spirit. During any time of year, a hatchet ($18.49–$36.99) helps forest visionaries see the wood for the trees, and a second mailbox ($13.99–$84.99) doubles the amount of fan mail homeowners can expect to receive.
Ace Hardware's project people assist and advise on a gamut-running range of home- and garden-oriented endeavors. The 20-pound propane-tank refill will pump up a deflated cylinder with the energy to grill juicy burgers, cook corn on the cob, or blaze a flame that can be used as a nightlight for adults locked out of their own houses. Like a roaring campfire or a solar panel, the propane-tank refill can also be used for outdoor heating.
On Target Pest Control’s team of exterminators is helmed by an industry veteran whose past experience includes solving the bug problems at the New York Stock Exchange, Rockefeller Center, and The Waldorf Astoria hotel. He lends his big-city expertise to homeowners for work on a domestic level as his technicians deploy patented EcoSmart botanical products in their quest to rid their clients’ abodes of such unwanted pests as ants, spiders, and cockroaches, and using eco-friendly methods for removing larger vermin such a mice and other rodents. The team uproots infestations by first investigating the sources of a home’s pest problem and locating entry points, which can include pipes, the chimney, or the ant farm in someone’s briefcase. For infestations that also require the removal of fine debris, they then use a vacuum system with HEPA filters to make the removal complete.