Ace is the place — time and time again

Scott and Jill Tharp, owners of Ace Hardware in Kemmerer, pose with former owner Pamela Price and employee Paul Price. (GAZETTE PHOTO/Karla Toomer)

Scott and Jill Tharp bought Kemmerer’s Ace Hardware store from Jill’s mom in 2018. The great news is the store stayed in the family for a third generation. Pamela, Jill’s mom, wanted to retire. Pamela’s parents owned it previously. Certainly, things have changed in three generations, and the coronavirus is changing some things up.

“We have different sales right now,” Scott Tharp said. “More paint. More craft. When the mask thing came up, the coal industry bought material; Genesis, a local construction company, bought material; and some women in town bought material for making and donating masks.”

While that is good news for health and safety, it hasn’t made up for the loss of revenue. Ace is not up or equal in material sales for this time of year, because the yearly 601-mile loop of material stores, called the Shop Hop, has been canceled. This is a yearly event touring 13 material stores in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming.

“Material sales are actually down because no Shop Hop tour of area fabric stores,” Scott said.

Ace is still open and ready to help.

“We are able to reinforce the fact that we are here when you need us,” Pamela Price said. “A lot of people are confined to the home and having the opportunity to see the immediate needs in the home. We try to be sensitive to that need while maintain social distancing.”

They are making sure they are working as much as they can with the parameters that have been given to them. Pamela went on to say they have implemented new services to fit the needs of the time including delivery to residents’ porches.

“We are a small town and we know who you are,” Pamela said. “We can deliver.”

They are also offering curbside pickup or trunk service. “You give us a call and we drop the items in your trunk when you come to the store,” she said. “Whatever we see in the trunk … just kidding — we won’t report the condition of your trunk. What is discovered by Ace stays at Ace.”

Pamela said her daughter Jill is great at networking. “If there is something you need, she can find it. She was calling all over the country and found a little company back east selling elastic,” she said. “The lady wanted to help our small town of Kemmerer, where our resources were short, and she got up and went into her warehouse and sold us the last spool of one-quarter inch elastic in the country. We are experiencing this type of comradery all around, with people pulling together.”

Pamela’s son, Paul Price, also works at Ace.

“We are here to help neighbors because they are my neighbors,” Pamela said. “We are locally owned. The money stays local. We support the local teams. We are happy to be here for the community. My daughter Jill was called into the store three times on Easter Sunday. People had water problems and other things come up. We’re here for you and it’s been a good opportunity for us to show that these past few weeks.

Now that some people are taking advantage of, or needing to take advantage of, the services of Ace and what they’ve been doing for the past 36 years, Jill adds, “We are very grateful to Kemmerer. We are also very grateful for the opportunity to show the people what we can do.”

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