Here's what Gina has to say.

How can a locally owned brick-and-mortar business succeed in an ever expanding big box and online marketplace, and what can we learn from these experiences? Find out by listening, reading, and watching the media below.

Interviews, Panels & Podcasts

As big box goes impersonal, Gina grows her company and success through a culture of acceptance and community.

Gina Schaefer Discusses “Recovery Hardware” and Community

Taking Care of Business hosts, Dan and Renee have a conversation with Gina about her memoir, "Recovery Hardware: A Nuts and Bolts Story About Building a Business, Restoring a Community, and Renovating Lives,” her experiences hiring employees who are in recovery from addiction and the rewarding experience of giving second chances. Learn more about the writing experience, her inspiration for the book and how retailers can apply her hiring practices in their own operations.

Gina Schaefer's Nugget (Recovery Hardware)

Schaefer is Founder and CEO of a chain of Ace Hardware stores located in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, MD, Alexandria, VA, Takoma Park, MD and Silver Spring, MD. She is a passionate entrepreneur who grew her company from one to 13 stores in 18 years and now leads a multimillion-dollar business that employs more than 250 people. She is dedicated to maintaining a strong corporate culture. Schaefer's big passion is for developing urban markets, supporting small businesses and helping women to succeed in all aspects of the hardware industry. She has tirelessly focused on the "Return to Main Street" movement in her own city of Washington, D.C., to promote Shop Local campaigns and community revitalization in urban areas. 

Building Community: How A Few Cool Hardware Stores Transitioned to Employee Ownership

Sometimes companies transition to employee ownership to help spark a transformation in workplace culture, in other cases a move to employee ownership is the continuation or next logical step in a vibrant company culture that already exists. A Few Cool Hardware Stores is firmly in the latter category. In this episode we speak with selling and co-owner Gina Schaefer and a new employee-owner Courtney Belew about what transitioning to employee ownership was like for both a business owner and an employee, the importance of community engagement, and the benefits of building a strong workplace culture.

From 0 to 13  Hardware Stores and an ESOP

After 18 years of growing her business to 13 stores and employing over 250 people she decided to sell her ownership to her employees via an ESOP. Gina was a brand new entrepreneur when she opened her first store- formerly in SaaS - when she started in her early 30s.

This is a great story of someone who saw opportunity in a low income place and created a mission to change the lives of people through “a few cool hardware stores.

Return to Main Streets

Schaefer's big passion is for developing urban markets, supporting small businesses and helping women to succeed in all aspects of the hardware industry. She has tirelessly focused on the "Return to Main Street" movement in her own city of Washington, D.C., to promote Shop Local campaigns and community revitalization in urban areas.

Navigating the Pandemic with Gina Schaefer

Gina Schaefer, who operates 13 Ace hardware stores throughout the Washington, DC region is an optimist through and through. Her positivity and commitment to doing business that does good for her employees and community has enabled her to come through challenging times of the pandemic stronger than ever. In this episode, Gina shares her secrets of staying power and success: hint listen to everyone carefully and be prepared to communicate often and in different ways. And signs of optimism: sales of flower pots are up.

What’s in Store: The Future of Work in Retail

In this panel, Gina explains how her stores compete in today's retail environment with the advantages of brick and mortar service.

Frontline Conversations

The ACE Hardware stores owned by Gina Schaefer ('17) are foundational parts of the neighborhoods they serve. As brick-and-mortar stores fight to hang on during the pandemic, Schaefer is holding firm, keeping her businesses thriving and over 250 employees working. In this video, learn how A Few Cool Hardware stores are managing and evolving during the pandemic.

Second Chances

In life, making mistakes is inevitable; however, it is not the mistakes that define us but the lessons we learn and the choices we make in response to those actions that can change a life. In this video, Gina shares how she decided to not only see past a person’s mistakes but see their opportunity for growth and help them on their journey.

Everything Co-op

Everything Co-op host Vernon sits down with Gina to discuss the evolution of her business and the integration of cooperative principles into her business practices.

Tell Me More 

Tune in to hear Gina's journey from one store to eleven (now thirteen).

Executive Leaders Radio

Gina, along with some of the regions' finest business leaders,  shares how she built her enterprise and some secrets to her business success.

What's Working in Washington

Gina Schaefer is the CEO and founder of a chain of hardware stores called A Few Cool Hardware Stores. In fact, there are more than a few - with a total of 14 locations throughout D.C., Maryland, and Virginia! On today's episode, Gina shares her inspiring story of success, explaining how a unique business model revitalized her urban community and changed hundreds of lives in the process.

In the News

Impressions in the local community through business spotlights and profiles.

Authority Magazine

Gina Schaefer of A Few Cool Hardware Stores: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became a CEO

Hardware Journal

Cover Story: U.S. Hardware at it's Coolest

The Hardware Connection 

Striving Toward a More Diverse and Inclusive Industry

Hardware Retailing

Feature, "Leading with Me: What retailing has taught Gina Schaefer about leadership"

HBS Dealer People of the Year Award

Gina Schaefer, award recipient 2018

Woodley Park Main Street

Business Spotlight, Woodley Park Ace Hardware

Cabot Community Celebrity Cruise

Honoree for National Cooperative Bank, 2017

District Bridges

Business Spotlight, Logan Hardware

HBS Dealer

Gina Schaefer makes leadership 'Cool'

Published in:

The Washington Post
Washington City Paper
The Baltimore Sun
HBS Dealer
Profiles in Diversity Journal
Entrepreneur Magazine
Remodeling Magazine
USA Today
The Hardware Connection
Hardware Journal
Hartford Courant
Bloomberg News