As Residents and business owners of Catalina Island, located off the southern coast of California, Mike Cassidy and his wife Cinde MacGugan-Cassidy are familiar with water restrictions and the toll they can take on residents and businesses. When Mike and Cinde moved their business, Chet’s Hardware, to a new location on the island three years ago, they added a 500-square-foot nursery. Having a nursery required them to get creative in how they kept the nursery watered, especially in times of drought.
“Reading the rain clouds on the wall, or the lack thereof, we knew we needed a better way to water our nursery to keep it going,” Mike says.
In August 2022, Mike installed an 850-gallon tank that collects the condensation from the store’s 10-ton air conditioner unit and a small ice machine the employees use. The tank also collects rainwater from gutters on the roof. The water from the tank is used in the nursery, saving an estimated 600 gallons of water per month. For its efforts, the store was awarded a certification of recognition from the local water utility company, Southern California Edison.
“Setting up the water collection system was easy,” Cinde says. “The system allows us to do our part to conserve water. As a hardware store, it’s also a great way to sell products—and sell them for the right reasons.”
Sunshine Ace Hardware Garners Local Award for 20th Consecutive Year
For the 20th year in a row, readers of the Naples Daily News and NaplesNews.com voted Sunshine Ace Hardware in Naples, Florida, as the Best Hardware/Home Improvement Store in the area. The operation has been the only winner in this category since the publication launched the awards two decades ago.
Naples Daily News readers also voted Sunshine Ace as the region’s Best Gas Log/Grill Dealer and as a finalist for Best Place to Work and Best Auto Accessories Store. Readers of the Bonita Banner also recently voted the company as the Best Hardware/Home Improvement Store in Bonita Springs, Florida. Family-owned and operated since 1958, Sunshine Ace Hardware operates nine locations in Collier, Lee, Charlotte and Pinellas counties, as well as two Crowder Bros stores in Manatee County.
“Since my grandfather founded Sunshine Ace back in 1958, dozens of big-box stores have opened in our area and online shopping continues to expand, yet our company continues to win local ‘Best of the Best’ awards,” says Michael Wynn, president of Sunshine Ace Hardware. “We offer top brands at fair prices, but there are two difference makers for Sunshine Ace—our helpful, red-vested associates will always be just an aisle or two away, and our stores will always be there to support the community.”
Taking Merchandising to New Heights
At Cliff’s Variety, a landmark store on historic Castro Street in San Francisco, making use of space is important to serve its customers’ varied needs for products. The store occupies side-by-side storefronts for a total of 8,500 square feet of retail space, and both spaces sell an eclectic mix of goods for the home and garden. General manager Terry Asten Bennett utilizes every square foot to merchandise products from tools to puzzles to local souvenirs. For example, antique ladders are used to reach the ladders on display above some of the gondolas and tents are fully-assembled above the shelves so customers can see before they buy.