Best Ace Hardware: new products, renewed look

Craftsman, Clark+Kensington featured brands
Five Points Best Ace Hardware store managers Sheila Baull and Bruce Jordan display a new Craftsman 9-in-1 wrench called a Dog Bone. Ace stores now carry a variety of Craftsman hand and power tools, all of which have a lifetime guarantee. BY HENRY J. EVANS JR.
April 1, 2013

Best Ace Hardware customers have noticed a brighter, more open look at the stores known for their selection of products and helpful employees who are knowledgeable about what they sell.

Whether one is shopping for a stepladder, a length of fuel line, five gallons of paint or 20 pounds of birdseed, Best Ace is ready to fill the order.

“We’re updating and improving the shopping experience,” said Andrew Best, Best’ Store Inc. executive vice president. He said many products in the company’s five stores have been rearranged to increase product visibility and make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for.

“We’re trying to get a better flow into the garden center in the store at Five Points,” Best said. Best also has stores in Milton, Milford, Millsboro and Harrington.

Instead of stocking garden items in various sections, Best said everything a gardener needs will be in the garden center. “You’ll be able to get a bag of mulch and RoundUp in the same area,” he said.

He said store resets have also made it easier for customers to shop for wild bird-related items and gifts.

“There’s a lot of wild bird interest in the area,” Best said. The stores offer a selection of birdseed, bird feeders and birdhouses.

Bruce Jordan, a Five Points store manager, said birdseed is a top-seller. “I think those birds are eating better than some people,” he said.

Best Ace Hardware stores are also selling Craftsman tools. “We’ve had them about a year. They’re rated the No. 1 tool and have a lifetime guarantee,” Best said.

Best Ace stores are also offering Clark+Kensington, a new line of paint,. “It’s exclusive to Ace, and it’s ranked No. 1 in two of three paint categories,” Best said.

The product combines primer and paint and the manufacturer says it provides superb coverage in half the time. Clark+Kensington is available in 120 harmonizing colors; has an ultra-smooth finish; is stain resistant and easily wipes cleans.

Ace is so confident of the paint’s superior qualities that they’re giving customers a quart of flat enamel in the color of their choice.

The promotion, Free Paint Saturday, takes place Saturday, March 6, at Best stores.

“We’ve had a free paint Saturday, and the line of people getting paint snaked around inside the store,” Jordan said. A free quart of paint is available while supply lasts. In addition to free paint, customers may also enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win 1 of 10, $1,000 Ace gift cards and a personalized paint color recommendation.

Five Points store hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Sunday. For additional information about Best Ace Hardware stores, call 302-424-5414, or go to

How the Best family became an Ace operation

In 1932, Thomas Best and Sons Inc. first opened its doors as a general store, selling groceries and hardware.

The original store was near Lewes and Nassau and as the area grew, so did sales.

In 1968 because of steady growth, the store was relocated to Five Points and expanded to offered an even wider selection of clothing, fishing gear, animal feed, shotguns, ammunition, pots and pans and everything in between.

With sales growth continuing, the original Thomas Best turned operations over to his son, also Thomas. Throughout the years, Thomas’s children, Randy, Carolyn and Barbara came into the business.

In 1982, the company underwent its first name change as control was transferred from Thomas to his son Randy. Thomas Best and Son’s became Bests’ Store Inc.

A decade later the first Best Ace Hardware opened in Milford. At the time, it was one of the largest hardware stores in the state. Building on it its success, the family decided to convert the original store into a full-line Ace Hardware modeled after the Milford store. In 1993 the changeover was completed, ending the era of the true local general store.

Randy and his family and siblings grew the Milford and Five Points stores. Randy and wife Susan’s children, Jenny and Andrew, grew up becoming increasingly interested and involved in the family’s company.

When it was apparent that both children wanted to continue the family’s long business heritage, a decision to grow again was made.

In 2001, Best Ace Hardware opened its third store, this time in Harrington, as business at the Milford store continued to boom. The store was relocated to 633 N. Dupont Blvd., and expanded. This new space more than doubled retail space and had sufficient room to attach corporate offices to the store.

In 2006, the fourth Best Ace Hardware opened in Milton, and Randy and Susan’s children and a niece joined the company’s management team.

The most recent opening came in 2010, when the family added a Millsboro store on Long Neck Road.

Today, Best Ace Hardware proudly operates a business spanning four generations.

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