Griffin Ace Hardware celebrates 70 years in business at special event
Griffin Ace Hardware will celebrate 70 years in business on Saturday, March 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its two San Diego stores with a cake-cutting, giveaways, grilling demos and other festivities.
“Our basic business is exactly the same as it was 70 years ago, just trying to help members of our community, homeowners and business people, have their hardware needs satisfied by people who know what they’re talking about,” said CEO Bill Griffin, whose father Harold opened the store in 1953 after moving from Kansas to California. “But the way that we do it is where the dramatic change has been. Technology has changed — how we order, how we communicate — but what we do is the same as 70 years ago.”
After opening the first store in Santa Ana, the business expanded to Carmel Valley in 1991 and into San Diego’s 4S Ranch community in 2006.
Stacey Griffin Jess, one of Bill and his wife Sharon’s three daughters who run the business, said “They’re not your typical hardware stores.”
“We also have a lot of things that our customers need,” Stacey said. “If they need to run in and pick up a gift real quick for Teachers Appreciation Week or for a hostess gift or a baby gift or things like that, by always offering new and exciting things and making our stores a fun place to shop and not just your typical walk-in-and-be-ignored type of store.”
The Santa Ana store has a strong commercial base, with a focus on business accounts, plumbing, paint and hardware departments. The North County and 4S Ranch stores are more focused on its residential base with strong home décor, gift and paint sales. In March, 2020, the Griffins launched GRACEiousliving.com, which is dedicated to décor and gift merchandise sales.
In addition to Stacey, who serves as Griffin Ace Hardware’s vice president of marketing, her sisters Kelly Griffin Hollingsworth and Shannon Griffin Carney are vice president of merchandising and president, respectively.
“We really didn’t anticipate that we would have all three daughters basically running our business at this point,” Sharon said. “Bill and I are semi-retired. We go in and bother them whenever we feel like it, but they are running the business and this is a dream that we never even had. Back in that era, the ‘60s and ‘70s, women didn’t really work in the hardware business, much less own stores. That has been a great gift for all of our families that this is a family business. We work together, we play together.”
She added that the business will maybe advance to fourth- and fifth-generation ownership.
“I look forward to them hopefully continuing this business, if that is what they want to do, and if any of our grandchildren would love to come into the business, they will be welcomed, but that is all up to them,” Sharon said. “We want all of our family to do what they like doing. Right now it’s working out perfectly. Things may change in the future, but it’s a solid business, it’s a business I think will always be around.”
Griffin Ace Hardware’s Carmel Valley store is located in Piazza Carmel shopping center at 3880 Valley Centre Drive, Suite 203, and the 4S Ranch location is at 10511 4S Commons Drive No. 156. For more information, visit griffinace.com.
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