Where folks used to drink their morning coffee in Gretna, they’re now going to find their afternoon project.
Ace Hardware opened its doors Jan. 28 at 104 Glenmore Drive. Many will know the building as the former home of D&K Cafe, which moved out of the space more than a year ago.
Store manager Alex Ziegenbein did most of the demolition work himself starting in June of last year, and construction was finished in January. Ziegenbein is also the co-owner of the store with his grandfather, building owner Bill Sapp.
Ziegenbein said it was Sapp, who is one of the owners of Sapp Bros Travel Centers and Petroleum, the truck-stop chain known for the water towers that look like coffee pots, who was the driving force behind opening the Ace in Gretna.
“He has a home in Arizona and he goes to the local Ace there and he really loved the customer service,” he said. “He decided since he had this building here, it would be a great addition to Gretna.”
Ziegenbein’s wife, Ashley, is the assistant manager. She said small-town customer service will be the store’s edge. “We’re going to know people who come in and have a relationship. ... We’re excited to get to know people who live here and be part of a small community.”
The store is about 6,000 square feet, but Alex Ziegenbein said they’re willing to stock whatever the community needs. “We want to find Gretna’s niche. Something a lot of people want to buy or their neighbors are getting. If we don’t have it, we want to get it in.”
He said a lawn and garden center will open in the spring.
The couple said the first days have been exciting, nerve-wracking and overwhelming at times, but it’s going better than they expected. “A 13-hour day here is way better than an eight-hour day at my last job,” Alex Ziegenbein said.