Last Thursday as a customer left the store, he paused and asked an employee if he could take a picture of the inside.
He and others in Warrenton are excited to have Warrenton Ace Hardware now open. The store, which had been vacant after a former hardware store owner closed the doors and filed for bankruptcy, opened under new ownership July 26.
Warrenton Ace Hardware is owned by Mike Hubert, who also owns an Ace in Grovetown and one at Daniel Village in Augusta. Hubert entrusted the new store to Vanessa Barnes, who is the general manager of both the Warrenton and Grovetown locations.
“Everybody has been so excited about us finally opening the doors, just wanting to come in and see what we have been doing,” Barnes said. “They have been very welcoming to all of us. Matter of fact, Miss Janes’s Restaurant sent us a flower arrangement.”
Barnes said there are 10 employees and most are from Warrenton. Among the staff, Barnes and two others are from Grovetown but the others are locals — including Tommy Oliphant, who is the assistant manager in Warrenton.
“To start with, they were driving from here to Grovetown to train at the Grovetown store,” Barnes said.
The Ace staff began working on the new store June 21 and in slightly more than a month got the doors open to the public. There will be a grand opening Sept. 10 and 11. Barnes, who comes from a hospitality background, points out what sets Ace apart as a brand is the emphasis on customers.
“My main focus has always been customer service. That’s my main thing,” Barnes explained. “That was what attracted me the most with Ace. Ace is a very customer service oriented business. That’s what keeps us apart from Lowes and Home Depot, we speak to everybody. We help everybody.”
Much of Warrenton is likely to have already met Cheryl Bertsch, an enthusiastic employee from the Grovetown store. She said she will be working in the Warrenton store one or two days a week. But, she has already hit the streets of Warrenton getting to know people, and telling everyone she meets about how the store carries Dot’s Pretzels.
“Cheryl loves Ace,” Barnes said. “I love getting out in the community, rubbing elbows with people, just meeting everybody and making new friends,” Bertsch said.
Barnes said the staff size may increase over time.
“It will end up growing. It is just a thing of getting in, seeing how the store runs, and the different needs for our surrounding areas,” Barnes explained.
The store hours for the Ace locations owned by Hubert are Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.