ACE Hardware has been a staple in Coon Rapids for decades. But at the end of 2020, the ownership changed hands.
“We were flirting around with the idea of buying another store,” said Tim Owata.
Owata and his wife, Elena Nelson, bought the store from longtime owner Todd Spanjers. Nelson owns the ACE Hardware at 38th Street and Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis, a place where she’s worked since high school. The couple calls Coon Rapids home.
“We knew we wanted to give it a little TLC and do some upgrades,” Owata said. “So some of those plans were already put into motion before we closed on the sale.”
The new owners painted the walls, revamped the store layout and doubled the inventory. In addition to a big backyard BBQ section and a colorful paint department, ACE Hardware has an expansive selection of pet food and poultry supplies. Owata says something that sets them apart from big box retailers is their customer service.
“One of the biggest complaints we get from people who come here from the big box stores is they’ll walk around those stores for a long time and can’t find anybody to help them,” Owata said. “Our goal is to help every single person as soon as they walk through that door and give them that personal shopping experience while they are here.”
The store not only comes with new owners but also two new mascots: ACE and Aura. The cats roam the store 24/7. Customers come in looking for the cats, some even carrying them around as they shop.
“They stay here and when you arrive in the morning, they’ll have all the toys pulled out of the pet department,” Owata said. “They’re obnoxious but everyone loves them.”
Coon Rapids is no longer the couple’s newest location. They recently purchased the ACE Hardware in Forest Lake.