Owner Harland tells plans for Jefferson Ace Hardware

Andy Harland, owner of Don’s Ace Hardware in Jefferson, plans to be open in his new location in early May.

Harland shared his plans for the former Shopko building at the Jefferson city council’s Nov. 27 meeting. The council then approved an economic development agreement with Harland, doing business as Sky Blue Properties LLC. The agreement is for a $75,000 loan, forgivable over 10 years.

Harland plans to spend $260,000 to improve and remodel the 1970s building.
Harland told the council the Ace Hardware cooperative is challenging e-commerce by having a wide product line available with face-to-face customer service. He said his business has outgrown the current location on the northeast corner of the downtown square, with merchandise in the basement and hanging from the ceilings. The only restroom is in the basement.

The downtown location is 6,000 square feet; the new location is 20,000 square feet. He plans to expand his inventory of tools, electrical and plumbing items, and also to add items not available in the county with the closing of Shopko and Ben Franklin. He’ll add more small appliances and housewares, outdoor items like grills, and a lawn and garden center. He’ll also add craft paint to the paint department. “I want to fill in as I learn of needs in the community,” Harland said.

The store will carry an inventory of 30,000 different items.

The renovation will start with asbestos abatement in replacing floor tiles. He’ll add insulation, replace lighting, create a ground level loading dock at the northwest corner of the building, move the restrooms from the back of the store to the front, install new shelving, and update the façade.

Most of the work will be done by local contractors.

Harland kept the store name, Don’s Ace Hardware, when he purchased it from retiring owner Don Orris in 2009. The store name will change to Jefferson Ace Hardware with the new location.

Harland will sell the downtown building. He said there has been some interest in it, but not by a retailer. Six upstairs apartments make it attractive from a cash flow viewpoint.

Harland is a third generation hardware store owner. The Harland family also owns Harland Ace Hardware in Perrry and Boone Ace Hardware. The Harland stores are the oldest family-owned Ace Hardware stores in Iowa, Andy Harland said.

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