Ralston Ace to close doors

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Sara Van Cleve
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Longtime Arvada Plaza staple Ace Hardware is closing its doors at the end of August.

The owner of the Arvada Plaza, Industrial Realty Group of Torrance, Calif., is to soon begin redeveloping the shopping center area, which is part of the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority’s urban renewal district known as the Arvada Triangle.

“We got a call in January telling us IRG had struck a deal to start the redevelopment process,” said Ralston Ace Hardware owner and President Mike VanderKolk. “We’ve been in the Arvada Urban Renewal triangle-area for about 10 years. We knew at some point something was going to happen.”

The Ralston Ace Hardware was started in 1970 by Clarence Lederhose, VanderKolk’s father-in-law and store manager Kelly Burge’s uncle.

“It’s been a family-run business the entire time,” VanderKolk said.

The first store was across Ralston Road from where the current store is. After several relocations along Ralston, the store went to its current home at 9447 W. 57th Ave. in the Arvada Plaza in 1993. VanderKolk and Burge announced on June 27 that the store would be closing and Ace Hardware began its liquidation of merchandise.

“We’re staying through the end of August, which is the end of our busy season,” VanderKolk said.

VanderKolk said he was involved with the citizen’s advisory committee AURA designated for the area several years ago, and knew the Arvada Plaza would be the first shopping center to be redeveloped at some point.

“The first thing everyone agrees upon is that the shopping center is in need of help and it’s past its prime,” he said.

The proposed redevelopment of the Arvada Plaza includes a Walmart store, which has been met with mixed opinions from the community.

The retailer does not play a factor into the closing of the Ralston Ace Hardware though, VanderKolk said.

“It’s always been coded for a large retailer and it wouldn’t matter who it is,” he said. “There are a lot of emotions over Walmart, but it wouldn’t matter if it was Walmart or Safeway or some other store, we never planned on this store being able to stay here.”

Though the Ralston Ace Hardware is closing, the family-owned Lakewood store 2563 Kipling St., which opened in 1998, will remain open, and VanderKolk encourages customers to travel 10 minutes to that store so they can continue to receive the same products and service.

Some of Ralston Ace Hardware’s 14 employees will be transferred to the Lake Ridge Ace Hardware.

“The second store gives us the opportunity to minimize the disruption to our employees,” VanderKolk said. “It is an opportunity to help save as many jobs as possible. We’re doing our best to accommodate them.”

Keeping their skilled and knowledgeable employees will also help make opening a new store easier if and when they find a new location, VanderKolk said.

“We’re pursuing another opportunity that, if all goes well, will enable us to have a new second store by the end of the year,” he said.

Though the family is looking to the future, it is still hard to see the Ralston Ace Hardware close, Burge said, who has worked at the Ralston Ace for nearly 30 years.

“Customers here are our friends and we treat them like family,” Burge said. “We’ve seen kids grow up and they continue to come in as adults. Some older folks have passed away and were close to our hearts and I’ve gone to their funerals. People have given their love to the store and we’ve given our love back to them.”

Leo Warner, a 20-year patron of the store, is one of those customers who has become family and he said the closure was unfortunate.

“This store is the only store in the area that carries a lot of things the big stores don’t carry, like brass, stainless steel, parts that are hard to come by. They fill that niche,” Warner said. “When you come into the store, before you get two feet in, there’s a guy or gal asking how they can help you and they know what they’re talking about.”

Closing the store was a change that had to happen, VanderKolk said, and both he and Burge have one thing to say to their customers: “Thank you.”

“I just want to say thank you to everyone for making our life what it is,” Burge said.

All merchandise in the store is on sale beginning generally around 20 percent off. The Ralston Ace Hardware will close at the end of August.

City Council is hosting a public hearing regarding the redevelopment plans for the Arvada Plaza at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, July 15, in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 8101 Ralston Road.