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Schroeder's Ace Hardware Building

Schroeder's Ace Hardware

Ray Schroeder and Friends

Ray Schroeder (Right)

Ray and Flossy Schroeder

Ray and Flossy Schroeder

Ace Hardware Flyer

An Original Flyer

Current Location in Lombard

Current Location in Lombard, IL

Schroeder Family

Don, Flossy, Dick, Ray, and Greg Schroeder

Greg, Don, and Dick Schroeder

Greg, Don, and Dick (50 Year Celebration)

Introduction

Ray Schroeder

Flossy Schroeder

The Early Days

The Big Move

Retirement

Today

Picture the old-fashioned hardware stores of days gone by; men and women of all ages searching through countless bins for that one last piece to complete their household projects. These people knew that no matter how obscure their necessity was, the kindly owner in the dust covered smock was sure to meet their needs. Day or night, hardware store customers could count on undivided attention and a friendly grin. As times have changed to a faster pace, the neighborly ways of some establishments no longer exist.

However, there is one local emporium that maintains the ambiance of the past. It is a place where hardware needs can be met by people who know you by name and customers feel at home. This locality is Schroeder’s Ace Hardware – where you are more than just a patron. You are a friend, a family member.

The history of Schroeder’s Ace began with the current owners’ father, Ray Schroeder. Born on Christmas Eve 1921, Mr. Schroeder was raised near South Bend, Indiana. He was one of five children and lost his father at an early age. Growing up during the Great Depression, Ray had to pretty much have a paper route to help support the family.

After returning to the United States, Ray initiated his hardware career when he obtained a position as a salesman for Enderes Tool Company, a job that took him around most of the country. Ray finally settled in Chicago and found himself working for Schuham’s Hardware.

Love came to Ray Schroeder after he was set-up with Florence Olmstead, a nurse at Elmhurst Hospital. Florence, who was known as Flossy, was originally from Nahma, Michigan. She moved to the Chicagoland area with some of her family in the early 1950’s. They were married within three months.

In 1962, now husband to Flossy and father of three small sons, Don, Dick and Greg, he opened his own hardware store in Lombard, Illinois. Schroeder’s Hardware later took on the Ace name in 1973.

In the early days, Ray ran the store day and night. The three boys also started working when they were very young, as soon as six or seven years-old. It was one of their responsibilities to help out on the sales floor. Every day, as soon as school was out, they made their way to the store.

Flossy even helped out when she could. Aside from taking care of her home and family, she also did all the hardware store’s billing manually. Understanding the burdens placed upon her husband, she worked full days assisting customers and even moved such articles as 100 pound bags of salt. Flossy was Ray’s right hand in running the business.

As time went on, Schroeder’s Ace Hardware grew and found itself in need of a larger building. The first move occurred in 1969 and then again to their current occupancy in 1976.

The move of 1976 is one event that stands out in the Schroeder Family’s memory, as it was quite an ordeal. Not only did they have to move their merchandise, but they also had to build all their own counters and related fixtures for the new store. Fortunately, many friends and family members offered helping hands. They even had a large percentage of the College of DuPage football team, friends of Dick, assist in transferring the inventory.

The day before the move, the Schroeders planned to have a large sale to reduce their inventory in order to ease the moving tasks. To their surprise, a mix-up occurred and the sale was advertised for the day after. As it turned out, they ended up moving their full stock of merchandise to the new store and found a store full of people shopping out of crates the very next day. As chaotic as that day was, the sale was a grand success.

Ray Schroeder and his sons now had the large scale hardware store they had dreamed of.

The Schroeders weren’t in their new store long before Ray and Flossy decided to retire at the age of 55 to Florida. Being that he intensely trained the boys himself in areas of business and personal ethics, Ray felt he could leave his store in the care of his trusty sons. Dick, the second eldest, became President and Don and Greg the Vice-presidents. Since then, other family members have also helped out at the store. Wives Ginny and Cheryl worked for a time doing office work and the up-and-coming Schroeder children are regular employees at the store.

Ray and Flossy remained married until Flossy passed away in 1986 from cancer. Ray remained actively involved in the Moose, Elks, and Eagles Clubs, as well as the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He also made regular trips to visit his sons and, surely, to make sure the store was still in top shape! He enjoyed boating and playing chess with his grandchildren. Granddaughter Stacy often laughs, “He was Mr. Fix-it… he even had a shed in Florida and he had a mini hardware store set up. Everyone on the lake knew that if they ever needed anything – from tools to screws – they could call Ray and he would help them.” After recovering from a stroke, Ray passed away in August of 2005 of natural causes. He was 83 years-old.

Today, Schroeder’s Ace Hardware employs approximately 35 individuals, most of them local residents. Overall, the atmosphere provided for all employees is based on friendship and trust. Because of this, the Schroeders don’t encounter a high employee turn-over like most other stores. You will always see a familiar face when you walk through their doors.

The personal touch of the hardware store carries on to their business relations as well. Due to the fact that all Ace Hardwares are family-owned and run, the Schroeders have close communications with the other owners. The store benefits from this attitude in that it allows in trading of merchandise (to quickly get needed items for customers) and promotion of sales. It is clear that the values behind the Schroeder business go a long way for all those involved – including its customers.

The store was also recently reset in winter 2012 in order to make it fresh for the 50th Anniversary.

Contact

Schroeder's Ace Hardware

837 Westmore/Meyers Rd

Lombard, IL 60148

 

Tel: (630) 629-0220

Fax: (630) 629-1618

schroedersace@comcast.net

Store Hours

Mon:

7:30 - 8:00

Tue:

7:30 - 8:00

Wed:

7:30 - 8:00

Thu:

7:30 - 8:00

Fri:

7:30 - 8:00

Sat:

7:30 - 6:00

Sun:

9:00 - 5:00

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