FORSYTH COUNTY — Three Forsyth County ACE Hardware stores are undergoing improvements as a result of new management.
The stores in Midway, at Hammond’s Crossing on Hwy. 369 and on Hwy. 20 near Bethelview Road were purchased by the Hardware Company Forsyth in partnership with Nashville, Tenn.-based Capstan Fund, led by Steve Curnutte.
Forsyth residents Darin and Gina Workman are overseeing the three locations as they are renovated and their inventory expanded.
Darin Workman brings more than 17 years of ACE Hardware experience to the stores. He left his job with ACE corporate offices earlier this year to join the Capstan investor group and become a part owner in the three Forsyth sites.
He said he first came to work with ACE as an internship out of college. He spent several years in the corporate information technology division before moving into business development, where he worked to install new stores across the Southeast.
“I’m not traveling anymore, but I do seem to be making this big circle around Forsyth County almost every day,” he joked.
Currently, Workman and his team are cleaning out old inventory and working toward a complete reset of all three ACE locations. The reset will feature new inventory, such as Valspar Paint, STIHL equipment and repairs, Craftsman tools, Echo, Big Green Egg and Yetti Coolers.
In addition, the stores are getting small facelifts, including new paint and lighting, and the cash registers are being moved to create more space at the front.
All three locations will remain open during the work, with the exception of maybe one day at each location, according to the Workmans.
On Oct. 17-19, all three stores will hold a grand reopening event.
The Workmans were happy to help the locations, previously known as the Wood ACE chain, which had gone into bankruptcy last year.
Darin Workman said he and his wife wanted to help the 23 staff members between the three locations.
“We have a great team, I mean a really great team,” he said. “We wanted to do this for them and for our community,” he said, noting that the chain likely will expand to its “optimum” number of about 35 employees as business increases.
Gina Workman added that the employees seem to be looking forward to the future with the company.
“Just today, I had one of the guys walk over to me and say, ‘I’m so thankful to be working here; it’s so exciting to have this new inventory and new owners.’
“They love seeing their stores changed and uplifted. This bankruptcy put them through a lot since they didn’t know if they were going to have jobs or not. It deflated them … but now they’re happy, excited and so helpful.”
She said each of the communities around the stores has also been supportive.
“We’ve had so many committed customers who kept coming even during the hard times these stores went through,” she said.
“There were some customers who weren’t happy [during the bankruptcy], but they still came back because they wanted to see the change.”
Having been a longtime part of the Forsyth community themselves, helping the stores was important to the Workmans.
The couple met while serving in the U.S. Navy. They have five children ranging in age from 15 to 27, two of whom are active military personnel, and have lived in the county for about 20 years.
“Besides the Navy, I’ve never know anything besides ACE Hardware,” Darin Workman said. “So we wanted to get these stores back in shape because ACE has always been good to us. We bleed ACE red.
“The main message we want to get out to the community is that ACE Hardware is back and we are the helpful place. We’re here, just bring your problems to us and let us solve them.”