HOLTVILLE — In less than two weeks residents will be able to shop locally for hardware supplies as the newly remodeled ACE Hardware store at the former location of the Imperial Do-It Center prepares to open its doors.
“We are hoping to do a soft opening toward the end of (this) week, if not the beginning of the following week,” said David Bayles, owner of the ACE Hardware store.
The local store, located at 123 E. Fifth St., has been closed to customers and staff throughout the renovation process due to repairs to the store’s plumbing, updates to the interior and a fresh paint job to the exterior along with the installation of a new sign, explained Bayles.
“It had a lot of construction and repairs, so for the safety of our customers and employees we had to close,” he said.
Bayles, owner-operator of the Blythe-based Inland Builders Supply, finalized the purchase of the 111-year-old Holtville family-founded business, Imperial Hardware Co., on July 20. The purchase included all three Imperial Do-It Center store locations in Holtville, El Centro and Brawley.
A permit for a six-month remodeling project to transform the former Holtville store into ACE Hardware store brand was submitted and approved by the city of Holtville back in May, according to Jorge Galvan, Holtville city planning consultant.
Holtville was the only store that was required to close during the remodeling project, while both the El Centro and Brawley stores remained open to customers throughout their conversion to ACE Hardware, Bayles explained.
Employees of the former business will be retained as new ACE Hardware team members will be added throughout all local stores, Bayles noted. He also mentioned that Holtville’s store location was fully staffed by temporary employees who will be brought back to the store as new permanent ACE Hardware employees following renovations.
“I absolutely love Holtville, the people have been so welcoming and have made us feel at home,” Bayles said.
The Holtville hardware store location was the first store founded by Howard Meyer in 1908, which later saw three generations of his family help expand his business throughout the Imperial Valley. Meyer’s grandson, Imperial Hardware Co. Chief Executive Officer Phil Heald, now 81 years old, will be the last of his family members to run the local business following the company’s sale to Bayles, explained Holtville Chamber of Commerce manager Rosie Allegranza.
“I’m a little nostalgic; it’s sad to see a company like Imperial Hardware that was founded in Holtville … come to an end,” said Allegranza. “That is three generations of the Heald family.”
Although one chapter has come to a close, another is set to open in good hands, according to Allegranza.
“The new owner, Dave Bayles, comes from a history of generations working in the hardware business,” she said. “His grandfather ran their business in the ’50s, his dad in the ’70s, and Dave took over in the early 2000s.”
The new store is expected to provide a wider selection of hardware products with more quantity available, along with items for home décor, explained Allegranza.
“They pretty much gutted the Holtville store and are remodeling from the ground up,” Allegranza said. “New flooring, new fixtures, new everything.”
The Holtville chamber is expected to help coordinate ACE Hardware store’s formal grand opening ceremony with a ribbon-cutting scheduled for later this fall. “They plan on opening the week after next (next week) and will have a grand opening later when the weather is cooler in October,” she said during an interview last week. “This is going to be so great for Holtville.”