MVT Spotlight:

Monday November 11, 2013

Gina Schaefer is the owner of nine Ace Hardware stores – A Few Cool Hardware Stores – in Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Takoma Park, MD, managing 175 employees in these busy urban stores. Ace Hardware is a co-operative company, with a mission to provide support and good product pricing to a growing number of independent hardware retailers such as Gina’s A Few Cool Hardware Stores group of stores. The 5th Street Ace Hardware store has been continually evolving since opening in City Vista five years ago. The 8,000 square feet on two floors offers more than 40,000 items to residents in the Triangle and beyond. Gina is very active in the community, serving as a Board Member for House of Ruth as well as Think Local First DC. She is a Corporate Advisory Board member for Jubilee Jobs. Her corporate duties for Ace Hardware include serving on the Board of Directors and she was previously a Steering committee member of Progressive Ace Leaders (PAL).

MVTCID: Tell us how you came to locate Ace Hardware in the Mount Vernon Triangle community?

Gina: We started negotiating our space years before the building was even a hole in the ground. At the time, we had only two locations, Logan Hardware and Glover Park Hardware. We celebrated our 5th anniversary at City Vista in July of this year. 

MVTCID: What are the most popular items at this location?

Gina: Believe it or not, our lawn and garden department does a brisk business at this location. We like to think we are helping to create the prettiest balconies in town. We sell indoor plants too, which are hard to find downtown.

Light bulbs are big sellers because we carry dozens of unique types that you cannot find elsewhere.  We can also special order really hard to find sizes.

Probably the hottest product line is Sodastream – a carbonated beverage making machines that you can use to make bubbly water, soda, tonic water, etc. We started carrying Sodastream during the holidays three years ago and sales haven’t slowed down yet. I think they’re perfect for parties because you don’t need to have bottles and bottles of sparking water or soda taking up space if your home isn’t very large.

MVTCID: What would you like residents/employees in the Mount Vernon Triangle community to know about the store that you think they might have missed?

Gina: I would like more people to think of us for non-hardware type items. For example, we sell a wonderful closet organizing system called Freedom Rail. Freedom Rail is compatible with (and competes) with Elfa at the Container Store. We can help you get much better use of your closets and pantry.

We also carry a wide range of fun and useful housewares like Simple Human trash cans, kitchen gadgets and storage items, canning jars, small appliances and much more.

We carry a great selection of pet supplies too. We love it when people walk into the store with their pooch so we can give her/him a biscuit. Try our Blackwood premium dog food – if you’re a neighbor, we could even deliver it for you so you don’t have to carry a heavy bag home.  

MVTCID: One last question – what is your favorite spot to eat in the Triangle?

I love the interior décor at Sixth Engine and their food is delicious. Here at City Vista, I love Mandu – especially their soup!

Editor’s Note: You can find more information on 5th Street Ace Hardware at