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Local store closes after 80 years

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Local store closes after 80 years

Amaeka Effiong, Staff Reporter

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Ace Hardware has been a part of the Okemos community for about 80 years. It stands in the heart of downtown Okemos surrounded by other small shops that have aged and grown with this town.

Ace was a place that Okemos residents believed would last forever. Throughout the years, the store has provided a series of goods ranging from construction tools to home appliances, and prides itself in being a “helpful hardware” store.

Ace was just another everyday shop, so it came as a surprise to many when the owner announced that it will soon be shutting down.

“I’ve been going there since I was a kid, so it’s kind of sad that they’re closing,” George VanSumeren (11) said.

Jim Raynak, who has owned the Ace located on 2143 Hamilton Rd for 42 years, has been planning to close it down for a while now.

“I’ve been trying to sell it for over two years,” Raynak said.

However, Raynak’s plans for closing the store do not mean he is happy about the change.

“I’ll miss the customers, I’ll miss the employees. We have a lot of relationships around town, but it’s time to move on to something else,” Raynak said.

Lilian Covel (11) is sad to see a business that she has grown up with shut down.

“It’s sad that’s it’s closing down; the employees were always very nice and it has been there since I was kid,” Covel said.

The small, community feeling of Ace was greatly appreciated by their customers.

“[Ace Hardware] staff is a lot more knowledgable, and it’s always hard to find someone in the big box stores to help out,” VanSumeren said.

Ace customers also valued the effort made by their employees to satisfy each customer.

“I would go to Ace Hardware anytime that I needed anything that was a specialty part or piece, because they typically carry a lot more specialty hardware in stock than if you were to go to Home Depot, Lowe’s, or Menard’s,” Dean Buggia (CTE) said. “They were also more helpful when you would go there with a problem. It was really nice to go in there and at least have someone that was knowledgeable, and they could help you and kind of understand where you were coming from. I never really could get that from people at Home Depot or Lowe’s because they were just kind of like, ‘well, sorry we don’t have it.’”

Despite their great love for Ace, multiple customers are convinced that its small size, quaintness, and competition from bigger stores contributed to its downfall.

“I think it closed down because it’s not a great location and it has to compete with Home Depot, which is probably difficult,” Covel said.

Buggia agrees that bigger stores have a large influence in Ace being closed down, but also pointed out that the ability to purchase things online is making it harder for businesses to stay afloat.

“Definitely probably the big box stores,” Buggia said. “And I think the convenience of being able to order things online and then being able to pick them up in the store. Normally, just because of convenience, I would order [tools] from either Lowe’s or Home Depot.”

Although many suspected that Ace is shutting down because of larger competition and its size, Raynak reveals that that is not the case at all.

“The main reason is I’m going to retire and I’m getting tired,” Raynak said. “I work a lot, I work seven days a week, so I need to find something that is less [time-consuming]. I’m sad that I’m letting go, but I need to spend more time with my family.”

Regardless of the cause of its closure, as Ace Hardware parts ways with Okemos it leaves behind memories of its great sense of family, friendliness, and community that will definitely keep its spirit alive.

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Local store closes after 80 years