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Ace Hardware holds grand opening

VALLEY — Although it has been open for the past few weeks, the Ace Hardware on 20th Avenue held its grand opening Monday morning.

Members of the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, the Valley City Council and the community gathered in the air-conditioned store, happy to escape the June heat. After some mingling and conversation, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce Ashley Crane prompted Greg Nichols of EAMC-Lanier to lead an opening prayer before introducing owner Tracy Culpepper to the crowd.

“Once you join the Chamber, you are part of our family,” Crane said to Culpepper. “Please feel free to get to know every person here. Don’t hesitate to call upon any of them, because that’s what we’re here for. We are here to support you as a business owner and your business here in the city of Valley. We just can’t thank you enough for bringing this to the community. “

Valley Mayor Leonard Riley was unable to attend so Mayor Pro Tem Randall Maddux shared a few words in his stead.

“Small business makes up the strong backbone of our economy throughout the country,” he said. “Tracy, thank you for coming to the city of Valley. We wish you the best of luck.”

Obviously humbled by the kind words and excited at the turnout, Culpepper thanked everyone for coming and talked about the importance of small business franchises like Ace.

“As I always say, Walmart is great, I love it, it does tons,” he said. “But when little Jimmy’s got a baseball game, it’s all of the small businesses that the team looks to for support. We are looking forward to being here. Glad to be here because, as you all know, I’ve been here forever.”

Ace Hardware is a nationwide company, but it is made up of franchises like the one Culpepper owns. He shared his excitement about it being in the area, citing the need for good customer service.

“I truly believe in customer service. I truly believe that engaging people when they come in and trying to be helpful is a cornerstone of being a good business,” he said. “People just get tired of driving out of town. They get tired of going to LaGrange or Auburn or Opelika every time they need a little something. By putting this Ace here we hope that fills the need, fills the gap that seems to have been missing in the community.”

The importance of small business was definitely the theme of the event, and Culpepper’s sentiments were echoed by the Chamber of Commerce.

“This is another wonderful small business that provides another opportunity for our community and our residents to shop local,” Crane said. “We do ask that they take that very seriously because it’s important that we shop local, that we support our local businesses, and support local economy.”

Culpepper’s impact on the area is expected to expand even further, as he intends to open a Workout Anytime 24-hour fitness center next door to Ace Hardware in the beginning of August.