Ahead of its grand opening in August, Miner’s Ace Hardware in Goleta’s Fairview Center quietly opened its doors for the first time Friday morning.
Miner’s Ace Hardware replaces Orchard Supply Hardware. Despite a different sign on the front of the building and a new in-store layout, a regular customer of the old Orchard Supply may recognize some Miner’s employees. Marketing director Laurel Cadena said Miner’s acquired many employees from Orchard Supply, bringing Miner’s useful knowledge of how to best serve local customers.
“When we got in here we were kind of excited because we had their knowledge and support and information about what the community really looked for in a hardware store, and we really took that into consideration when picking product or doing layout and whatnot,” she said.
Miner’s Ace Hardware President Paul Filice told the News-Press that he’s “very happy” the new store has opened following extensive negotiations with the landlords, Ace Hardware, and Lowe’s, which purchased Orchard Supply Hardware. He added it was a great boon that Miner’s was able to acquire many employees from Orchard Supply.
“It was such a great store before and the people are what make it great, it’s not the products. ? Having to retain some of those people and getting a core group of them back made our lives so much easier and we’re so happy that they’re here,” he said.
Once Orchard Supply’s lawn seasonal garden lead, Michelle Clarich is one of the old store’s many employees who have put on the red Miner’s vest. Ms. Clarich worked at OSH for more than seven years by the time the store closed, which she sadly thought would end the relationships she had built while working there.
“The most heartbreaking thing … was not being able to see my coworkers again and all the friendly faces that we had that used to come over to OSH,” she said.
Not only is she satisfied that she gets to return to the same building with many of the same co-workers and customers, but Ms. Clarich added that Miner’s was very welcoming to the OSH employees and has given her more responsibility than she had before, such as placing special orders for customers.
“I’m in charge of a wider area, so I’m also in charge of house plants and ordering for that. For OSH we couldn’t do any of our own ordering and for Ace we’re allowed to. ? So if a customer wants a certain item I’m allowed to see if I can get that into the store for them,” she said.
Former OSH plumbing and electrical lead and current Miner’s paint and housewares department worker Kathy Popke was “very excited” to return to work in the same location and called Miner’s Ace Hardware’s opening, “Best thing that’s happened to this building, best thing for the community.”
While Miner’s moved into the Fairview space, the former OSH employees trained at other Miner’s locations. Ms. Popke was sad when OSH closed for the same reasons as Ms. Clarich, but said Miner’s has gone to great lengths to integrate her and the other former OSH employees into the company.
Instead of starting with a large, grand opening, the soft opening’s slow inflow of customers allowed the Miner’s employees to get a feel for working in the new store’s setup at a comfortable pace, according to Ms. Cadena.
“This kind of allows the staff the opportunity to work in the space and work with customers at a trickle instead of, you know, a drinking from a firehose type of situation,” she said.
Miner’s Ace Hardware’s Fairview Center location will have its grand opening on Aug. 10, which Ms. Cadena said would have “all the deals, all the bells and whistles.”