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.
Ace Heartware Stories
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.
Leaders of Greater Washington
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.
Navigating the Pandemic with Gina Schaefer
Podcast, Prism of Value
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.
Return to Main Streets
Podcast, Premiere Speakers Bureau
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.
From 0 to 13 Hardware Stores and an ESOP
Podcast, Intentional Growth
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.
Building Community: How A Few Cool Hardware Stores Transitioned to Employee Ownership
Podcast, Owners at Work
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.
In the News
Impressions in the local community through business spotlights and profiles.
Cabot Community Celebrity Cruise
Honoree for National Cooperative Bank, 2017