WAYNE – The process of filling the void is nearing an end after the Wisconsin-based retail chain, Shopko filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in January of 2019. A local group has come together and will bring in a business with the tag line ‘The helpful place’ to the 615 Dearborn St. location.
Leading into the summer of 2019, local investors reached out looking to replace the loss of a business in Wayne and came together as Retail Reclaimers, LLC dba Ace Hardware & Home.
Stephen LeGrand is the CEO of Sand Creek Post & Beam but also the majority-owner of the Wayne Ace and 100% owner of the Blair Ace Hardware.
LeGrand is familiar with the ACE brand and has owned the Blair store a little over three years. He said the Wayne ACE will be locally-owned.
“Ace actually works with a corporate structure as defined as ACE Hardware,” said LeGrand. “But nonetheless all ACEs are actually locally-owned by business investors who are living and breathing and working in the local communities.”
Wayne-native Brandon Hall will serve as the store manager and will be finalizing the plans as the hiring process has also been going well. Candidates will also be filling the assistant store manager and inventory specialist as well as other positions.
Crews have been busy at work since the beginning of March with even more planning up front with fixing the store and getting someone to buy the building.
“Then going through and saying okay what’s the structure of the store now and how do we have to change it,” LeGrand added. “Getting all the contractors lined up, getting all the city officials, getting all the finances lined up to be able to make it and turn it into what it is today.”
Along with everything ACE has to offer on the hardware side, several ‘Home’ products will be on the shelf. They include a 192-foot section of toys, cosmic/health & beauty products, activewear apparel, kitchen supplies, bicycles, bicycle/small engine repair, lawn/outdoor items and more.
After hosting an ACE Community Meeting in early November, LeGrand and his team looked through all of the feedback from the ‘have-to-have’ and ‘nice-to-have’ products. He mentioned people will be excited about what the Wayne ACE Hardware & Home store has to offer.
“I think we have done a pretty good job matching up everything that people are looking for,” LeGrand mentioned. “Is it going to be Shopko? No. Is it going to have a lot of what everybody was hopefully looking for? I think we’re going to fill a huge need, a huge void in the city.”
The goal from the beginning has been a spring opening as the Wayne ACE is looking to open their doors mid-to-late April.
LeGrand also wanted to let the public know some of the warehouses have been closed down due to the coronavirus and will impact the store.
“We will not have everything but we’re going to probably be about 95% completed-out in the store,” said LeGrand. “But we’re getting there and I think that people will be pretty excited about what they see when they first get here.”
Make sure to like Wayne Ace Hardware & Home on Facebook for more information.