20 Under 40: Alina Bell a staple at Country Ace, avid volunteer
Alina Bell’s story starts like many in Grand County, where she first came here for a season to work and enjoy mountain town life, but later realized she had found her home.
Since moving full time to the county 15 years ago, Bell has been a staple Country Ace Hardware, working her way up the company ladder and helping the store achieve the corporation’s highest store ranking for 10 years in a row.
She has also dedicated much of her time volunteering at local fire departments and currently serves as the chair of the board for Grand Fire.
“In addition to all of these great responsibilities, she is a great representative of our community,” said Bell’s nomination. “As a community we should feel fortunate to have someone like Alina working to make Grand County grand in the future.”
Name: Alina Bell
Profession: Manager of Operations.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Technical Management.
Place of Employment: Country ACE Hardware
What problem would you like to solve?
I would love to see our youth more involved in local businesses, whether it’s summer jobs, internships, part-time or year-round jobs, volunteer work or whatever other creative ways are out there. I think they would become more involved, interested and engaged with our community.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully, still doing what I’m doing! I love numbers, and this job gives me enough challenges and variety each day; it never gets boring!
Who’s your hero and why?
Tom and Kathy McConathy owned Country ACE Hardware in 2006 when I came aboard. I worked closely with Tom when I started, and learned lots about the business from him. He worked long hours in the business, and also on the business, analyzing data, sales trends, financial reports. I watched him pull the stores (two at the time) through a difficult recession that was really hard on our community; he eventually passed the hardware store down to his daughter, Amy. She’s a businesswoman extraordinaire, and I am thankful for the privilege of working with both!
What is it about your generation that sets it apart?
I think we have a drive and a work ethic that is hard to find these days. Our parents worked really hard to provide for us, and I hope we can be great examples for our children. We embrace technology, we are not afraid of change and we love to have a purpose. Give us a goal and we’ll crush it!
Why did you choose Grand County?
I came to Grand Lake in 2002 on a J-1 visa, to work for a summer. Why Grand Lake? My college friend said it’s a neat little mountain town… I met a boy with a dog that summer, and the rest is history!
How do you like to play in Grand County?
Even though I feel there’s never enough time to play outdoors in the summers, I really love hiking and camping. I love the serenity and the peacefulness you can only find on the mountain.
What kind of future do you see for your industry in Grand County?
We’ve been seeing the impact of online sales on brick and mortar stores over the last few years, and it’s hard to compete with the online retail world. But I am fortunate to be working for a company that is really focused on customer service, and I feel that staying focused on human interaction is going to be our leverage in the future. People like the convenience of buying online, but they still need a friendly, helpful neighbor to talk to. We’re here. We’ve been here for 40 years. We’ll be here.
If you could change one thing about Grand County, what would it be?
I would like to see Granby become the center of the county again, like it was about 16 to 18 years ago. People would drive to Granby for lunch, for movies, for games, for dates. I think local businesses would have to make some efforts, too, as far as hours and staffing (which is currently not easy), but I think that in the long turn, it would benefit us all.
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