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ACE Bucket Contest

Overflowing with Creativity

Askew’s Ace Hardware was the top finisher in the Ace Bucket Display contest, which benefits the Children’s Miracle Network.

Askew’s Ace Hardware Wins Ace Bucket Display Contest

For the third time in four years, Askew’s Ace Hardware in New Bern, North Carolina, was a top finisher in the Ace Bucket Display Contest, which benefits Children’s Miracle Network hospitals across the country. Associate Debby Gibson was the imaginative brains behind the playful display, which was a twist on an ice cream truck children could climb into that was built with five-gallon buckets. When a customer made a donation to the Children’s Miracle Network during the campaign, they received a similar bucket, along with 20% off their total purchase in the store.

“As soon as the contest is over, I’m thinking of what we can do next year,” Gibson says. “Our customers are so faithful about coming in to see what we’ve come up with for the year, but also steadfast to purchase the buckets and support a worthy cause.”

Askew’s Ace Hardware was a top three finisher in the nation and garnered top honors after getting the most likes on social media for their display. The store received $7,500 for winning, which was donated to Maynard’s Children’s Hospital at ECU Health, along with the $1,575 customers donated.

“When many people come together and do what they can, whether it’s big or small, it makes a difference for these kids,” Gibson says. “We’ve been able to meet some of the children who we’ve helped and seen the joy in their faces despite facing tough times. We are honored to support this cause because we know the results are making their lives better.”

Twice a year, Jarratt Hardware hosts community events to celebrate the great outdoors and say thank you to customers.

Celebrating the Great Outdoors

For the past four years, Jarratt Hardware has brought together the community in Jarratt, Virginia, to enjoy indoor and outdoor activities that celebrate nature and the area. Owner Andy Jones and his wife Alexis Jones, who handles the marketing for the business, have been hosting these events twice a year to say thank you.

“Our customers and community are the reasons our doors remain open,” Alexis says. “These events are one way to show our appreciation for them.”

These events draw in customers young and old, who enjoy taking part in activities to learn more about different topics like water safety, kayaking, gardening, beekeeping, embryology, fly fishing, hunting safety and wildlife rehabilitation. Alexis says the store partners with groups like the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, Virginia Cooperative 4-H Extension and local experts to host the activities. The twice-yearly events also include free food, giveaways and more.

“These events connect us with our customers and community because we design and plan each one thinking about relevant opportunities, programs and activities that will provide interest and offer benefits to the attendees,” Alexis says. “We also plan them in a way to give back and show our appreciation while enjoying a day of learning, outdoors and fellowship.”

A Colorful History

In 2021, Phillips Hardware opened its first ground-up location since the company started in 1886, moving the existing Altamont, New York, hardware store into a brand new 13,000-square-foot building. The building the hardware store used to be in was turned into a mini-mart with a gas station, providing a convenient one-stop shop for customers.

Housed in the new building, the hardware store pays homage to the area with a wide variety of locally made food, drinks and products for sale. It also honors the operation’s long history of service with a mural featuring the five past owners. Current owner Jon Phillips, who is featured with his wife Amy, says the other owners on the mural include Teddy Phillips (1886 to 1925), Abe Phillips (1925 to 1942), Harold and Eleanor Phillips (1942 to 1964) and Abbott and Gail Phillips (1964 to 1998).

“I’ve always wanted to honor my family and these past owners,” Jon says. “Building a store from the ground up allowed me to easily add the mural to pay tribute to all the generations before me who have made our business successful.”

About Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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