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Ace has no place on the marquee of one of Shelby County’s hardware stores – but there’s plenty of Ace still inside.
The former Ace Hardware store on Midland Trail recently changed its name to Shelby Hardware, a switch, owner Charles Bates said, has been slowly unfolding.
“Basically, all we’re doing is dropping the expenses we’ve got for carrying their trade names and brand marks,” Bates said. “We’re still buying from them and still have their products, [but] we’ve dropped their support.”
This is nothing new in Shelbyville, Bates said. He and his partners recently closed a store they were operating in Indianapolis and are planning similar changes to those used here for another in Lexington.
Bates said his store hadn’t been buying Ace’s bolts, screws and nuts for several years because management found and that the name change was just the next step in trying to cut down on costs.
“All we’ve dropped is their inventory costs, back to the way it was done years ago,” he said. “We place our orders ourselves. There is a cost surcharge for all that stuff. Add that to the rising cost of fuel charges, you’ve got to do something.
“You can’t pass those charges on to the customer. You have to cut back other ways.”
Ron Manno, the owner who runs the store in Shelbyville, said customers have inquired about the change but seem satisfied with what they’ve been told.
“We’ve had a number of inquiries, as to have-we-changed-ownership, what’s-going-on type of thing,” he said. “But we made it clear that it was the same people, the same ownership.
“Since we weren’t using the Ace name in our marketing, we decided not to pay for the Ace name. That’s a substantial savings.
“Most people, when we tell them we made the change to save on cost, they are agreeable to that as a good thing.”