When they have a little free time, the employees at Main Street Ace Hardware in Bowling Green, Ohio, stay busy with some creative pursuits: using spare hardware parts and pieces to create homemade artwork including games, models and other knickknacks that customers love.
One popular item is the chess set pictured, which was made from 275 parts, including nuts, bolts and other miscellaneous items.
“The idea of making the chess sets from these materials didn’t originate at our store, but we’ve made an effort to design the most attractive sets possible,” says employee Kevin Pierce.
Another employee, Roger Hansen, designs and builds the boards, which are sold separately. And while manager Carol Tolles stays busy taking care of business around the store, she enjoys the employees’ artistic endeavors.
“Placed in a prominent location, these chess sets—along with many other employee creations—make great conversation pieces, and customers frequently comment on them, and occasionally buy one,” Pierce says.
The staff also posts photos of these creations on the store’s website, as well as on its Facebook and Pinterest pages.
And even when pieces aren’t sold, the artwork helps the store generate business from DIYers.
“Customers are intrigued by the effort and come to us for suggestions or help with projects they find on Pinterest and similar sites,” says Pierce. “We recently completed a black iron pipe home lighting project for someone who’d struggled with the mechanics, after seeing it online.”
The employees aren’t the only artists whose work is featured in the store. Customers, too, can showcase their artwork at Main Street Ace; in fact, local artists often show off their work there.