What does it mean to make the 100-year mark?

For a perspective, I turned to a calculator & worksheet and, making some assumptions, discovered results that were remarkable!

Since 1922, Pedrotti Hardware has been open to the public over 336,000 hours and helped over 5.5 million people!  

This adventure began when my grandfather, Ralph Pedrotti, and partner Jim Firpo opened a hardware store in Crockett in 1922.  Later assisted by sons Ben, Al and my father, Larry, they helped keep Crockett residents in good repair.  The latter two – my Uncle Al and my dad – deserve special mention; each worked for over fifty years at sixty-hours per week.  In 1980, I stepped into the business to work full time and, seizing an opportunity to take over Dan’s Ace Hardware in Benicia, on Valentines’ Day 1992, we pulled our roots and relocated. Benicians instantly embraced us.

Thank you Crockett!  Thank you Benicia! 

Your reception and support have been instrumental in our success.  And not just with hardware.  For example, when we offered to match your donations for the Red Cross Japan Tsunami fund back in 2011, you blew us away by raising almost $70,000!  It is incredibly gratifying to help others.  However, joining with the community and the Red Cross for fundraisers like this was an extraordinary experience for me.

By now, I bet that most Benicia Magazine readers have shopped at my Ace store.  If you have, you would know that it takes a team effort to get it right! In my 30-year career in Benicia, it has been my pleasure to work with nearly 500 individuals who chose to work at Ace. Right from the start, their positive energy and willingness to help others set us apart.  We were blessed with employees like Margaret Vizuet, my first Benicia hire!  She worked for Dan and is still helpin’-at-hardware forty years later!  And Josh Gibbons, our store manager.  Josh joined Ace in 1994; a talented sixteen-year-old wood shop student with two craft awards from the California State Fair, Josh pairs his love of hardware & people with encyclopedic knowledge.  His leadership has been critical to our success.

To Margaret and Josh, to the current staff at Ace, to those hundreds of folks who donned a red Ace vest in the past thirty years, I offer my profound thanks.

Working retail is not easy:  hours can fluctuate, some folks can rub you wrong, and often it seems that stuff just keeps coming in the back door and flyin’ out the front… it’s endless.  However, your optimism, how your care for customers and each other…  is so admirable, so fundamentally human, that it humbles me.

Which brings me to another heartfelt thank you:  To Ace Hardware.

Were it not for Ace Hardware, we wouldn’t be here today; Ace saved our bacon.  Unbeknownst to many, at one time Ace Hardware operated a warehouse in Benicia; opened in the mid-‘60s, it was one of the first companies to occupy the Benicia Industrial Park.  It was Ace’s close proximity to Crockett that led to our joining the retailer owned co-op in 1981 and enabled us to secure products more competitively, Ace helped us stay open.  It was Ace Hardware that suggested that we consider taking over Dan’s Ace Hardware, financing the relocation and later expansion.  Ace saved a two-man operation from extinction, so that we are here to celebrate our Centennial.  I am forever indebted to Ace, to its talented men and women, for helping this small American business not just survive, but succeed!  Thank you Ace Hardware!

-Gene Pedrotti

Photo credit: Maurilio Angel-Lopez