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- Buying Local Isn’t a Slogan: It’s the Future
Date: September 15, 2014 Time: 9 a.m. Speaker: Gina Schaefer Topic: Gina Schaefer On the Art of Customer Service Organization: Ace Hardware—International Retailer Group Location: Orlando, FL
About Gina Schaefer
Who she is: Owning a string of hardware stores in downtown Washington, D.C., isn’t what you’d expect Gina Schaefer to say she does for a living when you meet the perky, petite 39-year-old. But she and husband Marc proudly stand at the helm of an $19 million company that owns 9 ACE stores in Washington, DC and Baltimore.
What she does: Manages more than 175 employees who help her maintain the busy urban retail stores, which sell lawn-and-garden supplies, paint, cleaning, tools, plumbing, hardware, outdoor, house wares and novelty gifts.
Why she does it: “I think it’s important to bring customer-friendly, home-maintenance shops back to Main Street,” says Schaefer. “Back in 2003, we had just moved into a fixer-upper, and so had all of our friends. The only place to get tools and nails and toilets and wood was at Home Depot in D.C. Or, you had to get into a car and trek out to the suburbs. I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t even want to own a car, and actually sold it years ago. But I did want to fix up our new condo.”
How her big idea played out: ACE agreed with her reasoning, and in March 2003, Gina and Marc had leased space in Logan Circle, taken a training course, and stocked the store with close to 20,000 products. Immediately, the store was a hit. In fact Marc, who kept his day job for a while — just in case — quit three months later and became the company’s CFO. Marc jokes today: “When we used to sit on a panel at new investor orientations for ACE, I’d describe her as ‘Hurricane Gina’ because she just goes in and makes things happen.”
How Gina pays it forward: A Board Member for House of Ruth and Think Local First DC, Gina is a also on a Corporate Advisory Board member for Jubilee Jobs, which provides skilled job preparation and placement services to the unemployed. Her corporate duties to ACE include serving on the Board of Directors and she was previously a Steering committee member of Progressive Ace Leaders.
To book Gina for your next keynote, conference, or workshop panel, send us an email.