A few weeks back I popped into the grand opening of Baltimore’s newest Ace Hardware. A guest of the beaming Gina Schaefer, her company “A Few Cool Hardware Stores” was responsible already for five (soon to be six) Ace locations in DC. This location, in Canton, officially makes their 3rd in Baltimore.
Canton is sort of a second neighborhood for me. As I have previously “nutshelled” – father raised, time growing up, lived, current rental property, home of Building Moxie 106 Yard Sponsor DAP, etc in Canton, and I am pretty stoked that Ace has now landed here too. Of course I had an interest that night as a reporter. But it’s safe also to assume that I’ll be popping in, some Sunday in the not too distant future, to pick up, idk, a wing nut, solder, caulk or some such. (Thank you!)
With locations also in the neighborhoods of Federal Hill and Waverly, and collectively known as Charm City Ace Hardware, the Canton location is the company’s largest – weighing in at around 11000 square feet.
Admittedly, I have yet made it to either the Federal Hill or Waverly stores, but on one occasion I did shop at their P Street location in DC. I will say, I really enjoyed that experience. Both for the team’s breadth of knowledge as well as for the store’s product selection. All in a tightly-packed urban setting.
Gina says, “We help our customers accomplish little jobs. For example, we rent hand tools, and this in fact makes us unique.” She continues, “We cater to individuals with small needs, those in rowhomes, apartments, etc.”
When asking her about the Canton location specifically, she says the size of the space affords opportunities to offer goods and services not available in all locations. In this location, she says, “Live goods (i.e. plants) will line the sidewalk (in some seasons).”
You will also find a cutting room and a screen making/repair station in the rear of the store. A converted warehouse, and with high ceilings, longer stock items such as electrical conduit and PVC pipe can be found standing up.
Learning about Ace Hardware
Ace Hardware was founded 1924. But as staffer Wayne Kahn pointed out, you probably know them as the “The Helpful Hardware Place.” Maybe you know that their tagline has moved on. But many probably don’t know that Ace is a co-operative company (a co-op). Unlike franchise models, Ace’s mission is to provide support and good product pricing to independent, local hardware retailers.
You might recognize the name Clark+Kensington. That too is derived from Ace‘s history. The brand name is a nod to Clark Street. This is where Richard Hesse -the president of Ace from 1929-1973, had his first store. Kensington Court is where Ace‘s main offices are now located. (For more history, here.)
On talking with Wayne about Clarke & Kensington, I learned that it is a re-formulation of the paints from one of Ace’s previously existing lines. Reformulated, as in Re-engineered and opposed to simply Re-branded, for better performance. But still appearing at an Ace-worthy price point. The Canton location, I should note, also carries a healthy stock of Benjamin Moore and other familiar Ace brands.
The layout of the Canton location is not dissimilar to many other Ace Hardware stores. You walk in and find immediately the Paint department/counter. Nearby you’ll also find caulking and spackling products (like those from DAP). Cleaning Supplies follow, then Storage, Tools and Power Tools, Electrical, Hardware, Fasteners, Plumbing (including HVAC), Housewares, Landscape & Garden, and finally Lumber (or Board Stock). And while this may be true for many other Ace Hardware stores, I am reminded that each store does still tweak and cater to the individual neighborhood it calls home.
Located at 1022 Binney Street, and really just off of Canton Square, you can learn more about the new Canton Ace Hardware by finding them on Facebook. And for a good list of Fall Projects, check Charm City Hardware’s recent post with us >> Four (Now That the Kids Are) Back to School Fall Project Ideas. ~jb
Outtake :: Learning a Little on How to Caulk
The night of the opening, Jessica Janasko of DAP Products gave me an impromptu demonstration on sealing gaps with caulk. (Yes, just in time for this weatherization season.) She says, “push don’t pull.” Check it below, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Cheers and thanks. ~jb