Following a five-month closure, Miller’s Hardware on the South Hill has quickly sprung back to life.
New owner Stace Heston acquired the business on Aug. 3 and opened it the following day. In a month’s time he’s developed a course of action for the Lincoln Heights neighborhood fixture located at 2908 E. 29th, near the southeast corner of 29th Avenue and Regal Street.
“We have a plan, and we’re slowly moving in that direction,” Heston says.
Heston, who owns Spokane Ace Hardware at 906 S. Monroe. Regal, says he plans to keep Miller’s Hardware its own entity.
“I felt like Miller’s has its own unique feel and history and decided against wrapping it into the Ace brand,” he says.
The store has operated in its current location since the early 1950s. Heston says he wasn’t sure of the complete circumstances surrounding the store’s closure since early March.
But he did see an immediate opportunity to seize on what he called an ideally placed hardware convenience store. Hardware convenience stores typically provide immediate assistance allowing customers to quickly be on their way.
“It’s the service that brings people in and the one-on-one interaction,” he says. “Miller’s Do It Best has always been part of a hardware cooperative.”
Remodeling work in the store has already started.
Heston says the building’s south side public entrance has been closed for good. The parking lot on that side of the building now is being redesigned for a lawn and garden section which will debut next spring, he says.
“Paint and lawn and garden are the top two drivers of a hardware convenience store,” he says.
Store personnel also are in the process of relocating the paint department closer to the front of the 5,000-square-foot retail space for more prominent display to customers, he says.
“We’re coming on the fall of the year, and that’s the time where the greatest number of do-it-yourselfers paint their homes,” Heston says.
Heston and his crew of five employees are also rearranging other sections of the store to better maximize the use of space. The interior will also soon get a facelift.
“It’s a little tired in here,” Heston says. “We’re going to give it a sprucing up as we go along.”
Heston, who is 53, moved to Spokane two years ago from Bonney Lake, Washington, south of Seattle. He has worked in the Ace Hardware business store chain for nearly two decades. He, his father, and grandfather all operated Ace stores.
Heston and his wife, who was raised here, seized on the opportunity to relocate to Spokane. His own family became so enamored with Spokane they relocated from the West Side as well. Heston’s brother is one of his employees at Miller’s Hardware, he says.
“All of us just fell in love with it over here,” he says.
Heston says his passion is to offer the kind of help people need around their property.
“It always been a joy of mine to get a crew that wants to work and help others out,” he says.
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