Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.
Contributing to local commerce isn’t new territory for the Howard family. In 1925, Edwin Howard’s in-laws founded a small grocery in Doraville, which he took leadership of 30 years later. After gaining experience in that business, he decided to expand the family’s venture, and in 1972, he opened the first Howard’s True Value Hardware right next door. Now, after more than 35 years and currently under the ownership of Howard brothers John and Doug, the hardware store keeps shelves stocked with more than 100,000 hardware items, tools, and home-garden accouterments from the likes of Carhartt and Honda, as well as charcoal grills from Big Green Egg, wood pellet grills from Traeger, and a line of propane grills with tanks they can fill in-store. For sports enthusiasts, they're an authorized YETI Cooler and Tifosi Eyeglass Dealer.
Building materials, including adhesives and mason tools, lighten the burdens of home-improvement projects, and a constellation of hand tools relieves the hassle of hiring a beaver to chew its way through 2”x4”s. A full stock of interior paints helps customers brighten the hue of living quarters, while a sturdy pair of jeans from Carhartt helps them to withstand the wear-and-tear of maintenance projects or slow dances with rose bushes.
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.