For almost 50 years there has been an Ace Hardware in downtown Midland on Main Street.
The original use of the building was as a car dealership. Our plumbing section was the showroom, and the offices were where our offices are today. Our parking lot was the service garage that you could drive through from Main Street to Larkin.
Our store got it’s start as Campbell’s Hardware which bought into the Ace Hardware co-op in 1965. Shortly after in 1969 Fred and Marge White purchased the store. The story goes that Fred had just been promoted to manager at Dow which in those days meant you were riding the gravy train from there on out. Instead, a month after his promotion he came home to tell Marge and their four children that he had quit his job and spent every penny they had in the bank on a hardware store.
Luckily things worked out and ever since 1969 it has been family owned and operated. Today their son Greg owns the store. He’s a graduate of Western Michigan University and Navy veteran. After 3 years in the Navy, Greg came back to Midland in 1975 to work in the store. In 1996 he purchased the store from his parents. Fred and Marge continued to work in the store until their deaths in 2002 and 2011 respectively.
Greg’s brother Jim also worked in the store for several years before taking over the Ace Hardware in Boyne City where he owns Boyne City Hardware today. The brothers continue to collaborate on business to this day.
The largest expansion took place in 1980 when we added on the current main shopping area. We more than doubled the square footage of retail space, and created the current entrance to the store. Another recent remodel in 2011 converted 1,000 feet of storage into retail space for our current lawn & garden area. In 2005 they purchased the locksmith side of Bryan’s Bicycle Shop and became the locksmith with the largest choice of key blanks in Midland.
We are also one of the most experienced hardware stores. More than half of the store’s current employees have 10 years of service and half of those have 20 years. Some of them even worked at Campbell’s before it became Ace.