Years in the making, Bests’ Ace Hardware at Five Points near Lewes will be closing its doors in the coming weeks. If everything goes as planned, the Best family will reopen a new hardware store around the corner soon afterward at the former R.E. Michel Company location off Route 9.
Andrew Best, great-grandson of company founder Thomas Best Sr., said Aug. 24 there’s not a specific closure date set, but the store will close by the end of September or early October. It’s about a five-week process to stock and move product to the new location, meaning it’s a bit of a moving target, he said.
“In an ideal world, we’ll close the old store one day and then open the next day at the new store,” said Best. “We’ve done it before at our Milford store, so we know it can be done.”
The Best family has been operating a business in and around the Nassau and Five Points area for nearly 100 years. In 1932, Thomas Best Sr. built a grain milling operation alongside the railroad that went through Nassau. The family moved the business to its current location in 1968. It became hardware only in 1993.
Best said it’s been a challenge to find a location with a building the right size and near the Five Points area. There’s been a family presence for 90 years, so it was important to try to find a place nearby, he said.
To make way for traffic improvements in the Five Points and Malfunction Junction areas, the Delaware Department of Transportation purchased the current store’s property in September 2019.
Best said he understands why DelDOT needs the property, but it’s still bittersweet. It’s for the greater good, he said.
Best said there’s a two-phase plan for the new location – the first phase is to get there and open; the second phase will be to renovate the second half of the property to accommodate all the stock. The floor space will be limited during the renovation process, but the store will still have all the products available online and for in-person pickup, he said.
The renovation is expected to be completed in the spring 2023, said Best. When that’s done, there will be a big grand reopening, he said.
The closure and move may be years in the making, and rumors have been swirling, but it took a turn to becoming official when the current business’ Route 1 sign announced a moving sale is now taking place.
“It was a deep breath moment when we decided to put that message up,” said Best. “This process has taken years and there was a collective sigh of relief because we were confident the plan was at a point where it could finally become public.”