Sweet Scuttlebutt for H Street, NE: Fashion One to become an Ace Hardware Store?

Back in Sept. 2011 we learned that Fashion One was closing at 700 H St, NE. It’s a huge space and I was really curious to learn who was going to be moving in. I’m happy to share some sweet scuttlebutt that I’ve learned from a very reliable source. Word is – Ace Hardware is in negotiations to take over the lease. I give this an 88% accuracy likelihood.

You think an Ace Hardware store would do well here?

Photo by PoPville flickr user philliefan99

40 Comment

  • I don’t get why ace hardware is so great. It is consistently more expensive than home depot and lowes for the exact same products…

    • You must like driving all over the place. When the Ace opens in Petworth, HD will be nothing to me but a TV commercial.

    • in my experience, smaller hardware (like ace and true value) actually employ people who know something about the products they sell. so when you need help or advice on a project, you can actually find somebody, ask them for help, and they help you find what you need! home depot, on the other hand, is awful (usually hard to even find an employee to help, much less one that actually knows the answer to your question).

      i live near the fashion one and regularly drive down to fragers instead of going to the home depot. the ace hardware would be fantastic – IF they have people who know their stuff.

      • +1 on the experienced staff. I’ve found asking questions of Home Depot floor workers to be only slightly more edifying than asking them of the floor. The Ace guys at the 5th St. NE location are always knowledgeable and eager to help.

        • You can actually find floor workers at Home Depot willing to answer your questions?

          • no, he said he finds their help to only be slightly better than talking to an inanimate object, the floor. read his statement again. i dread when brilliant snark goes unappreciated.

            ps: when ace opens, home depot at brentwood will never see me again. besides having the worst customer service out, the co-founder of home depot always pops up as a tv commentator making the most annoying, shortcut for thinking soundbytes of all time.

          • kes – finds workers to ask for help but feels that their answers are no better than if he/she had asked the floor

            ctk – is surprised that kes can even find workers willing to answer questions

          • saf

            @readitagain: You can stop going there now. Between Galliher & Hughley, Frager’s, Stronsneider’s, Logan, Brookland,and 17th Street, there’s no reason to give Home Evil your money.

      • yeah. reminds me of the episode of Parks & Rec, when the HD guy asks if he can help Ron Swanson, and Swanson just says, “I know more than you.” and keeps walking.

    • In addition to the typically better service mentioned by some others, I like Ace Hardware stores because they are independently/locally owned. I typically do my (admittedly limited) hardware shopping at Frager’s (also an Ace location) for these reasons, but would be excited to see an additional Ace location closer to where I live. (I sometimes shop at Park’s, as well, and have found the service generally good, but I think the stock is pretty limited.)

    • I’ve found the internet answers most of my questions. The poor customer service does make going to HD/Lowes suck some, but I feel like I’m burning money if I go to Ace. There are things Frager’s sells that neither ACE nor HD sell, but I dont think there is anything that Ace sells that HD/Fragers doesnt. Fragers is more expensive than HD but less than Ace. I spend in the neighborhood of 5-8k a year in these stores, and price shop obsessively, so I feel like I have a decent sample size.

      As for “locally owned” you’re willing to pay a several percent markup to get a local CEO rich vs a CEO a few states away? If its local employment numbers, I’m pretty sure HD hires more locals than ACE. Why the hell should i buy the 5 dollar tube of caulk at Ace vs the same brand that costs 2.50 one at HD?

      I like quirky independent places: coffee shops, boutiques, restaurants… I get paying a premium for that… but I dont get how ACE can justify charging more for the exact same item.

      • I’ve never seen a product cost twice as much at any Ace location as at Home Depot. And, it’s not about getting a CEO rich. The majority of small business owners I know are upper middle class, but certainly not rich. Additionally, I like the idea of money staying in the local economy. Obviously we have different priorities regarding why we shop where we do, but it seems like you posted just to argue, not to actually hear reasons why someone might prefer an Ace location over Home Depot or Lowe’s.

        Also, seeing as each Ace store is independently owned, you can’t really judge the prices or stock of this particular (potential) store at this point.

        • Each store isnt independently owned. All DC ACE locations are owned by the same partnership. I imagine the new one H st will be the same.

          The tube of caulk I am referencing, I dont remember which exact variety, is 1.78ish at HD and is almost 4 bucks at Ace. When you’re buying 10 tubes, it adds up. But thats not all, power tools are often 20-50 bucks more.

          As for more money going into the local economy, its not quite that simple. Not only does HD employ more people, but with HD products at lower price points, more local people can afford to spend the remaining money on something else. For instance, the 2 bucks I save on caulk can be spent on a cup of coffee at a local coffee shop. Or, the 1000 bucks I save on a job can be spent at the mall, or given to charity, or spent on a maid service, or spread around to many local places. Multiply this by a bunch of neighbors and the lower prices start making a lot of positive impacts.

          Whether HD is able to negotiate lower prices because of volume or ACE has higher overhead or just prefers to make a higher profit, doesnt matter to me. I’d rather my money stay in my pocket rather than to ACE’s CEO, supplier’s CEO, or the landlord.

          Lower prices for the same product are better for the local economy, no question. Now, when this starts getting expanded to the arguments associated with free trade, foreign made vs domestic made, and comparing different products – well, its not quite the same… but when we’re talking about the exact same products… there isnt really an economic argument to be made for paying the higher price to help anyone out. Take advantage of HD’s economy of scale. Their executives and shareholders certainly do.

          • Do you know that this (hypothetical) store will be owned by the same people, or are you just assuming? And I’ll concede that each store isn’t independently owned, but, like True Value, each store is also not owned by a large company, like Home Depot. Even if a single person/group owns the stores in the DC area, I would still consider that person a small business owner.

            And I realize it’s not that simple, but thanks for being so condescending and superior about it. I see your point, but it’s obvious that you’re not willing to see anyone else’s and your main interest is in arguing and not in trying to see that maybe different people have different priorities and/or reasons for shopping different places. (I honestly don’t believe that you can’t see that there are some benefits of shopping at a locally owned store over a nationally owned one (just as there are some benefits of shopping at a nationally owned store over a local one; it depends on which benefits are most important to you), so I have to guess that you are just interested in being argumentative and condescending at this point.)

            Additionally, not every argument is “an economic” one, but again, I’m pretty sure you know that and are just trying to act superior.

    • are you trying to get it or have you already made up your mind?

      • I go to ACE occasionally. For instance, I believe they have good quality lumber, more consistent than HD, but more expensive than the lumber warehouses/yards in the area. I’ll also buy snow removal stuff from them because it just seems like part of the snow prep season, but theyre generally not too far off HD in price on those items.

        I’d like to go to ACE more often, but the way it is now, it feels like I’m just burning money.

        I go to Frager’s often… when I can hold up a random fastener to a staffer and they can walk to their fastener room and find the right one in less than 3 tries, I think thats pretty impressive. besides, no one has the same selection of fasteners as fragers. but they have their weaknesses too… for instance, their garden section… wtf? Ginkgo Gardens has the same stuff, for lower cost and more knowledgeable staff.

        Anyway, I’m happy that ACE is moving into H Street, because it means HD obviously still has competition, which I think is definitely good – I just dont understand how Ace competes so well, since their prices are significantly higher.

        • what do you do that you need so many fasteners? also, what ACE do you go to that has lumber?

          • Making repairs around an old house, combined with updating the house, plus a propensity for dropping things in holes and losing things combines for an unusually high number of trips to the backroom at Fragers.

            I’m almost certain that both the Logan Circle and the City Vista Ace Hardwares sell your basic lumber (1×3-6, 2×2-6 and trim) I know one of them, I’ve purchased several pieces of wood from. I’ve been impressed with how straight, even, and sturdy they are. These are certainly worth the money if these traits are important in the job you are working on. However, if you can get to Smoot or G&H, their stuff is definitely cheaper for the same quality.

            ACE doesnt sell the really cheap stuff, like HD does and I think they can come closer in price in the mid range stuff because HD doesnt sell nearly as much of it as they do the low end stuff.

            Also, for painting supplies, nothing beats Sherwin Williams when they have one of their big sales (at least 6-8 times a year). Stock up then, dont buy any thing from any of the other stores.

  • This would be awesome. I don’t need things from a hardware store terribly often but when I do, I REALLY do. It would be great to have one in the neighborhood!

  • i like Ace, but the little hardware store at 10th & H (PK Hardware) is a great place – hope it doesn’t cause them to go out of business.

  • There is already Park’s hardware on H St. I know it’s not as pretty and new, and doesn’t have a great variety of products, but if you ask the people at the counter, they usually have what you need tucked away somewhere. And I hate to see local businesses like Park’s put out of business by national chains.

    • True Value isn’t really a national chain in the traditional sense. Each individual store is locally owned and is part of a hardward co-op.

    • dt

      I’d love to check out Parks, but I’ve never seen them open. With the number of old homes in the area, and especially homes under renovation, they need to extend their hours to evenings & weekends so that non-professionals can shop there. Ace/True Value/Fragers (and HD) are open after work and on Sundays, so they get my business and Parks doesn’t.

  • parks hardware is a joke. i hope i don’t have to spend my hard earned money there anymore. they made no effort to update their store to cater to the changing demographics, and the shopping experience there is terrible. i find that little store very much akin to the liquor stores with bullet proof glass: gross.

    • hardware stores aren’t made to be shiny and pretty. do you complain about the warehouse design at home depot, too? lol.

      my only issue with parks is that you have to ask someone to go in the back to get things for you. i understand that practice is designed to stop shoplifters, but it makes it very impractical to do price/quality comparison.

      the person who works the desk at park is good for answering questions on jobs. much better than home depot staff.

    • They didnt update their store to appeal to the changing demographic?

      You mean, they didnt make it shiny for people like you? Maybe they dont want superficial assholes shopping there.

      I forgot that the undercurrent of all “buy local” movements is a “buy affluent” movement too.

      Threading that anti-chain, pro-local, anti-poor needle must be getting increasingly difficult.

  • It was nice knowing you Parks Hardware!

    I’m sure Fragers will take a hit with this too.

  • This is great. Although it will have to be a really good store to keep me from making the trip to Frager’s, which is hands down the greatest hardware store on the planet.

    • SF, you haven’t been to strosniders, have you?
      that is *the* best hardware joint EVER!

      • I have been to the one in Silver Spring. Good, but there’s something about the Frager’s building that makes it my favorite– the floors, the layout, the basement… and the staff are the best.

      • you like strosneiders better than Fragers? I’ve only been to the one in bethesda, but i like Fragers better. what’s the difference that you prefer?

        • Craters is great and I hit it often, but strosniders has a *tiny* bit more space in the aisles, better paint selection, better supply Of screws&nuts&bolts and such, and the old guys that work there view their job as a religion – they’re dedicated and informed. They’re so proud of their store, they even sell T-shirts with the store name on them! I dunno, I just love ’em. They’re brilliant as a small hardware store. And even the old guys smile and give you wider options than you may have considered. For me, it’s worth the trek to Bethesda.

  • Isn’t it great that most of us have found hardware stores that meet our needs? And isn’t it unfortunate that we must wade through the puking of opinions all over the internet while trying to keep apprised of the goings on in our world?

  • you people have waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much time on your hands.

  • Thrilled to see something other than a bar opening on H St.

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