It's been serving the Ports-mouth community for 100 years, and to celebrate its centennial, Vandervort Ace Hard-ware is opening its second location in Wheelersburg this week.
Opening this Friday at 11730 Gallia Pike, in Wheel-ersburg, a grand opening celebration will begin May 3 for the newly-opened Wheelers-burg Ace Hardware, with a 10 a.m. ribbon cutting on May 4.
The Matt Kinseth #17 Carhartt NASCAR vehicle will be on display at the Portsmouth store on Gallia Street, on May 4, and the Carhartt SWAT Truck, with clothing and games inside, will be at Wheelersburg location. The two will then switch places the next day - NASCAR in Wheelersburg, and Swat Truck in Ports-mouth.
With more than 5,000 locally owned stores around the country, the two Scioto Coun-ty stores are both owned by Charles “Chip” Horr, of Portsmouth.
In 1907, Portsmouth Supply Company opened on the corner of Offnere and Gallia, and moved to its current Ports-mouth location in 1917. Horr's father purchased the business from previous owner Charlie Vandervort, in 1949, and in 1985, it became an Ace Hard-ware co-op store.
Today, Horr owns both area locations and allows his two sons, Scott and David, manage the Portsmouth and Wheelersburg stores, respectively.
“For 20 years, it's been a three-generation operation,” Horr said. “This is something Ace works very hard to do; providing financial planning, passing stuff down the generations as well, without all the tax problems. So it can be passed on without bankrupting the company.”
Horr said he had wanted to expand into another store for several years, and always thought the Koch's Hardware location would be great. When he heard it was closing last year, he said he “jumped all over it.”
After getting the building in June of last year, Horr said he expanded the building to 12,000 square feet, and has spent nearly a year remodeling and financing the store for its opening this week.
“Oak Hill Banks did a huge portion of (the financing). Of course, the inventory, store fixtures and computers ... you've got to borrow lots of money for that, so you need secondary lending. So we went to Ohio Valley Regional Planning Com-mission and Community Act-ion Committee of Pike Coun-ty,” Horr said.
Once it's open to the public, Ace will offer 17 aisles of items, from Benjamin Moore paint to Stihl brand power equipment and even Carhartt clothing. Horr also is working with Wendell Fulk for screen repair, glass cutting and small engine repair on products sold in their store.
Any gas-powered items sold at the store, he said, will include a full tank of gas and will be started up before the customer leaves the store, to be sure it's working properly before they leave.
“The big (store's) may offer sometimes lower prices, and let you go,” Horr said. “People here are saying they just can't wait for us to open so they can have someone to talk to who knows the product. We're going to offer something they don't - that's service.”
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235.