Ace Hardware opens soon "Nobody gets to live life backward. Look ahead � that's where our future lies." by M. Jill Karolevitz "Nobody gets to live life backward. Look ahead � that's where our future lies."
� Ann Landers
Gregg and Nikki Peters are living those words as they prepare to open yet another facet of their retail business � Ace Hardware � adjacent to Jones� Food Center, which they have owned since August of 1995.
The couple believes in doing not only what�s best for their own business, but what�s best for Vermillion.
�Since we came to town, we have felt that it�s important to keep people in Vermillion to shop,� Gregg said. �One of my thoughts was looking at the location and condition of the municipal liquor store. I talked to the city about doing something different because I didn�t believe it was a good representative of the community.�
As Gregg and Nikki planned an addition to their store, an agreement was reached with the city of Vermillion to move the liquor store to the new location.
�Hopefully it will work out well for both of us,� Gregg said. �The city has 2,700 square feet for the store � three times bigger than what�s downtown � and we hope it will bring more traffic to our store.�
Still, there was a question about what to do with the rest of the new addition. The Peters originally thought about leasing the spaces to other shops, but after more consideration, they opted to buy into an Ace Hardware franchise.
�We thought a hardware store would be the best use of the building, for us and for the community,� Nikki said.
Ace Hardware will carry a wide variety of hardware, along with lawn and garden equipment. Dealerships include Stihl, Ariens and Gravely. The store will be managed by Jim Brady, with Chad Holden as assistant manager. In addition, Ace Hardware will offer screen and glass repairs and a special feature will be state-of-the-art computer
�We�ll be able to match whatever color the customer wants,� Gregg said. �The computer reads the color, then does all the mixing. There�s no possibility of human error.�
By this fall, computers will also play a role in merchandising products from the Ace Hardware warehouse.
�We will have on-line shopping at the store or customers can call up our website from their home,� Nikki said. �If we don�t have something in stock, we�ll be able to find it on-line at the warehouse.�
�We will also open a small engine repair shop in the old American Video location later in the spring,� Gregg said. �Mike Jost will manage that.�
Another facet of the new business is Ace Rental Place.
�We�re really excited about that,� Gregg said. �Customers can rent anything from a Bobcat skidsteer or a dump truck, to sump pumps, popcorn makers or coffee machines � by the hour or by the day, depending on the item. And we plan to expand what we will have available to rent according to demand.�
Nikki, a native of Viborg, is no stranger to the retail world. Her father, Tom Jones, has owned several grocery stores over the years.
�He got us started in the business,� Gregg said.
The couple had been living in Denver, where Gregg, who grew up near Omaha, was a banker and Nikki was working at the University of Colorado Medical School.
�When the grocery store in Vermillion came available, we decided to take the opportunity to come back to this neck of the woods,� Gregg said.
Since they have owned Jones� Food Center in Vermillion, they�ve added a Little King and Chester Fried Chicken franchise, and Norwest Bank opened a branch at the store in November of 1998.
�We had nothing in that part of the store, so when Norwest approached us, we thought it was a great opportunity for us to utilize that space,� Nikki said.
In addition to the Vermillion location, the Peters also own grocery stores, which they bought in July from Nikki�s father, in Missouri Valley, IA, and Parker.
�We�ve been lucky to get good advice from Nikki�s dad,� Gregg said. �He�s been a great help to us.�
�He�s helped us a lot, but he�s also let us do our own thing,� Nikki added.
Construction of the 9,000 square foot Ace Hardware store began in November. The target date for opening is March 15. Hours will be 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
�This is an exciting time for us,� Gregg said. �We�re ready to get the store open.�