In life, making mistakes is inevitable; however, it is not the mistakes that define us but the lessons we learn and the choices we make in response to those actions that can change a life. Gina Schaefer, the owner of A Few Cool Hardware Stores which owns and operates 14 Ace Hardware locations, decided to not only see past a person’s mistakes but see their opportunity for growth and help them on their journey. Down the street from one of Gina’s stores is Whitman Walkers Clinic, a drug rehab facility. Gina knows the people she hires are good people and understands that they may have taken a wrong turn at some point in their life. By giving those individuals a position at Ace Hardware, she is helping them get back on the right track.
“I’ve always believed that people deserve second chances because people have to go somewhere,” said Gina Schaefer, owner of A Few Cool Hardware Stores. “A job is what changes people’s lives.”
In this Heartware story, Gina introduces Mark who has worked for her for the last 14 years and is now an essential leader on her team. Mark shares his story and how Gina’s efforts helped change his life. Mark started working for Gina when he was six months clean, working one day a week unloading the truck. Now 14 years later, he is the Manager of Inventory for all 14 of Gina’s stores. During this time, Mark’s father passed away and with Gina’s help, his father was able to see him sober and clean before he passed.
“By allowing other people to come in and work for her and give these second chances to people, [Gina] is building a better community,” said Mark Wasson.
For many of these employees, working at one of Gina’s stores is much more than a job. It is a way to stay clean, instill pride, encourage independence, develop skills and provide hope for a brighter future.
By opening your own Ace Hardware, you have the power to create real change and have a meaningful impact on your community.