Business Spotlight: Gina Schaefer, Logan Hardware
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Tell us about your business!
The story of A Few Cool Hardware Stores started in 2003 in Logan Circle. We knew the community wanted and needed a hardware store. Renovations were happening everywhere and traveling out of the city to get hardware supplies was slowing down progress.
We opened Logan Hardware at its original P Street location on March 1, 2003 to great success. It wasn’t long before people started coming in from other parts of the city asking us to open in their neighborhood, too. It was a special time in Logan Circle, with many new retailers opening their doors and providing moral support for us as we tried to learn how to use everything we were selling! Fast forward 17 years and our company has grown to include 13 Ace Hardware locations, a full service rental company, an online store, and a freestanding indoor plant boutique (which also converts into our Christmas Shop during the holiday season).
In 2015 we relocated Logan Hardware to it’s current home and AFCHS headquarters on 14th St NW, with 2.5 floors of retail space, an outdoor garden center balcony, and a third floor for our dedicated DC back office team and community conference room.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am the Co-Founder and CEO of 13 Ace Hardware stores (A Few Cool Hardware Stores) located in DC, Baltimore, and Alexandria.
I am a passionate entrepreneur, and grew my company from one to thirteen stores in a sixteen year period. Together alongside my husband, we lead a multi-million dollar small business that employs more than 300 people.
My passion lies in developing urban markets, supporting small businesses, and helping women to succeed in all aspects of the hardware industry. I have tirelessly focused on the “Return to Main Street” movement in my own city of Washington D.C. to promote Shop Local campaigns and community revitalization projects in urban areas. This has resulted in partnering with many local entrepreneurs and creating a D.C.-based program to sell locally made goods from prime shelf space in our stores.
I also serve on the CCA Global Partners, Inc. Board of Directors, am a member of the Ace Center for Excellence, and serve on the non-profit board at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.
When my schedule allows, I like to relax by making greeting cards (I’m a big believer in the power of the written note), kayaking, taking spin classes, traveling, reading and, of course, mentoring other small business owners.
Editor’s Note: Gina has received numerous accolades for her many accomplishments, including: recipient of the Women Who Mean Business award from the Washington Business Journal of 2009, recognized as an industry Top Gun in 2011 by the National Retail Hardware Association, honored by Profiles in Diversity Journal as one of its Women Worth Watching in 2013 and recognized by Hardware and Building Supply Dealer as one of 14 of the 2016 “People of the Year.”
What is unique about your business?
We pride ourselves in our commitment to the community—through events like our ladies’ night where more than 300 neighbors gather to learn hands-on DIY activities and socialize, to our product assortment customized to meet the demands of the neighborhood.
Customers of Logan Hardware can find a number of products unique to our Logan location, like products from local DC makers (both in store and at our outdoor markets in front of the store), greeting cards, a large selection of indoor and outdoor plants, a full service party supply store (with balloons and equipment rentals), and a large assortment of Pride items. Though our markets and events are postponed for the time being due to COVID, we are excited for a future when we can gather and celebrate with our customers once more on 14th St.
Are you still operating during COVID-19? In what ways?
Logan Hardware continues to operate 7 days a week: Monday through Saturday from 8am-7pm and on Sundays from 9am-6pm.
How can the community support you right now?
We love seeing all our awesome neighbors in store, but we know sometimes that’s not possible for everyone. There are two ways for our customers to order ahead and shop online:
- Curbside pickup through AceHardware.com: We offer thousands of products available on acehardware.com, where you can find stock availability of essential items like cleaners, tools, and day to day supplies.
- Shop To Home or In-Store Pick-Up through AceHardwareDC.com: If you’re looking for some of our fun seasonal products, you can shop our new online store at acehardwaredc.com, where you’ll find pottery, patio furniture, summer decor items and more, all available to ship to home or for in store pickup.
If you do come by our store, we’d love to see you—but please maintain 6 feet between staff and other customers. We are still committed to helping you with your projects and product needs, but it’s for your safety and ours. Thank you so much for your continued business and support!
What is your favorite thing about this community?
We love the sense of community in Logan Circle. We are so fortunate to have formed our roots here and look forward to many more years with our neighbors.
If you could tell all of the residents in the Logan Circle Main Street area one thing, what would it be?
We missed our neighboring businesses and are glad so many have recently reopened; but we are saddened that a few have had to close, too. We know it’s not always possible, but when you can, please consider supporting our neighboring businesses in the District and our Main Street. Our locally owned small businesses are a big part of the equation that makes Logan Circle a vibrant, diverse place to live and work, and we want to see them continue to be a part of this community for years to come so we can sustain the same quality of living that we’ve built together over the last two decades.
We are so grateful for the support of our customers and want you all to know that we couldn’t do what we do without you. Thank you all so much for shopping local at our store. We look forward to helping you with your next project!
Often when people hear the term ‘Main Street’, they think about business corridors. But many people do not think about the stress and loneliness that many business owners experience while navigating the hurdles of entrepreneurship and running a business. Logan Circle Main Street works to make sure that business owners have an advocate, and support system so that your favorite local coffee shop or tailor can keep their doors open. Help us continue doing out work by chipping in $10, $100, $1,000. Please do so on our website at districtbridges.org/donate