Brings over 40 years of hardware experience to town
Kent Carmichael of Ulysses said the decision to open an Ace Hardware store in Marion was much like collaborating in his first: a great opportunity that presented itself.
He and his wife, Sandra, purchased the old Seacat building in October with plans to expand the store before opening an Ace Hardware. Opening is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 1.
“The building size and location fit what we do,” Carmichael said. “It was an opportunity to serve the community and expand.
“We’re excited about the store. Businesswise, you can either green and grow or sit and rot. We know some people in the area who have been good customers of ours in Ulysses, and when they told us about the building we decided to pursue it.”
Carmichael plans to expand the store by knocking out the east wall and adding 2,500 square feet of sales space, bringing the buildings size to 12,500 square feet, and redoing the floor before even opening.
He said this expansion would allow him to offer more product lines. The store will offer traditional hardware items, as well as more farm items, such as feed and mineral licks for cattle and other livestock, and a greater selection of nuts and bolts.
“Our products will be geared towards gardeners and the do-it-yourselfer,” Carmichael said. “We kind of specialize in paint and cleaning supplies at two other stores. We plan to be a Purina dealer, and will offer Science Diet, and Dura-life.”
The store will also offer regularly needed items for USD 408 and city crews. Carmichael said the store will be open seven days a week and employ eight to 10 people. He is currently taking applications and talking to potential employees, but the hiring process will not officially begin until after Jan. 1.
“We’ve got a lot to do before we reach that point,” he said. “I don’t want to jump the gun.”
Carmichael has been in the hardware business since 1970. He is originally from Ellis County, and graduated with an accounting degree from Emporia State University. His wife is a retired teacher.
“I began working at a store in Liberal, and the man who owned the store asked me if I wanted to co-own a store with him in Ulysses,” Carmichael said.
Carmichael agreed to the proposed partnership and has expanded his business from that first initial store into a four-store empire. The couple owns stores in Ulysses, Larned, and Scott City and now Marion. They are also associated with a store in Liberal and one in Oklahoma. Carmichael said the Marion store would be centrally located between distributors and a daughter and son-in-law who live in Manhattan.
“We’re looking forward to being there,” he said. “There has been such a positive response from the community.”