After being open for 42 years, the Okemos ACE Hardware store is closing for good. Store Owner Jim Raynak made the tough decision to close the store so he could retire.
“Jim Raynak of Ace Hardware has been a fantastic retailer in Okemos for more than four decades,” said Chris Buck, economic development director for Meridian Township. “We are proud of his contributions to the business community and for his years of leadership and volunteer service to Meridian Township.”
Raynak tried for two years to get someone to buy the Okemos ACE Hardware location, but no one would. Now customers are all asking employees the same question: “Where are we going to go now?”
According to Buck, there is no publicly known activity regarding a change of ownership for the property.
“We are viewing this turn of events as an opportunity for a larger scale redevelopment project to get Downtown Okemos to become a quality community destination,” said Buck. “The township is fully prepared to engage with Jim or any future land owner who has a vision to transform that part of the block.”
Raynak is hoping for a bigger hardware store to open in Okemos, adding that whoever opens the new store will be rewarded with loyal customers.
“The customers have been great, all the friendships that we’ve all made, not just me,” said Raynak. “We live here, it’s a great community and we’ve been here all that time.”
One employee shared that on the day the store announced it would be closing, two customers brought donuts in for the staff and were crying.
Over the years, the Okemos ACE has gone above and beyond for customers.
“We do things that other stores won’t do,” said employee Dave Meyer.
Employees are instructed to count the money back the “old-fashioned” way and carry out customer’s bags to their car.
People will bring in their projects and repairs for items including music stands, car remotes, motorcycles, lawn mowers and screen doors. Meyer indicated that the store approximately 1,000 screen doors per summer.
“We repair all these weird things that people bring in that they can’t fix themselves. Nobody else does that,” said Meyer. “Jim won’t let a screen out of here unless it’s perfect, he replaces all the hardware.”
In its final months, the store will be having a liquidation sale with prices continuing to drop each week. They plan to officially close the door by Christmas, at the latest.
At the end of the sale, ACE will be giving away $1,500 worth of prizes through a point game facilitated by employees. When a customer signs up to play, they will automatically receive 100,000 points for registering and will be assigned a “player number.”
Each time they come into the store and shop, whether they buy anything or not, they will receive points. If they do make a purchase, they will receive 1,000 bonus points for each dollar spent. The customer with the most points at the end of the sale will collect the grand prize.