KENT — The Metzger family is bringing more than 100 years of hardware and retail experience to Kent this spring.

A.J. and Elliott Metzger will manage the University Plaza Ace Hardware store slated to open in May, following in the footsteps of their father, Art Metzger, as well as their uncles. They currently manage a store in the Wallhaven neighborhood in Akron.

“I’m fourth-generation,” Art said. “We’ve been in business since 1874. A.J. and Elliott will be the fifth generation. I’m getting close to retirement. I’m doing this for the kids, trying to set them up.”

The brothers have partnered in the business.

The entrepreneurial spirit runs in the family’s blood. Not only has the family owned a hardware store for nearly 145 years, but it also ran a Hallmark store, bowling alley and restaurant in Louisville.

“We all started when we were like 10 or 12 and didn’t know any better,” Art said. “We worked after school and in between sports, on weekends, after college was off. There was no time for loafing.”

Because Ace Hardware stores are not franchises, Art said the family will be able to put its own stamp on the Kent store. While it’s difficult at this point to know what areas it will emphasize, he said it will certainly feature Heggy’s chocolates and nuts.

“Grandma carried it for I don’t know how long,” he said. “It’s a Canton candy company, but very good stuff. It’s all fresh.”

The new Ace Hardware will be in the former Overstock Oasis location.

The retail area is about 13,000 square feet, and there are another 1,000 square feet in office space at the back of the unit.

Construction crews are renovating the facility.

The business will get new entry doors and a wall sign which will be visible from the street.

A.J. said the business will employ a mix of about 20 full- and part-time employees.

Art said the biggest factor separating the Ace store from area big box hardware stores are the convenience and customer service the shop will offer customers.

 

Reporter Bob Gaetjens can be reached at 330-541-9440, bgaetjens@recordpub.com or @bobgaetjens_rpc.