Granby hardware store manager/owner named ‘Woman Worth Watching’
GRANBY — Amy Kaplanis, store manager and co-owner of Granby’s Country Ace Hardware, was recently recognized by the Diversity Journal as a 2014 “Woman Worth Watching.”
Kaplanis said she felt she was chosen for the distinction by Diversity Journal because she is succeeding in an industry not typically associated with women, the hardware business.
“You don’t normally expect to see women owning hardware stores,” she said.
She did point out that she is seeing more and more women managers and store owners within the Ace organization.
Kaplanis is not a native Coloradan and said she grew up no place in particular.
“We never lived anywhere for more than four years while I was growing up.”
After graduating from college she moved out to Colorado for a job. She had never been to the Centennial State but quickly came to love her new surroundings. Within about three years of moving to Colorado, Amy’s immediate family members also moved to the state, for their own various reasons.
Amy’s parents, Tom and Kathy McConathy, purchased the Country Ace Hardware store in 2001. At the time Kaplanis was still working for a systems integration and consulting firm. In 2006 she decided to quit corporate America and get into the entrepreneurial spirit.
She joined up with her parents and brother and began working in HR and marketing for the store. She soon took on the role of store manager and picked up other responsibilities.
Kaplanis and Country Ace Hardware are enthusiastic about giving back to the community. The Granby store participates in a number of charitable events each year.
Every summer the store offers “hot doggers” opportunities for local community charitable groups. For “hot doggers” Ace provides charitable organizations with grills and hot dogs that the groups can cook up and sell. The groups get the proceeds from the sale of the hot dogs and also increase their local profiles in the community.
Country Ace Hardware also participates in the Granby Library’s Summer Reading Program. As part of the Summer Reading Program kids receive prize awards for reading a specific number of books. Kids who complete the total number of books twice receive a $10 gift certificate from the store.
In addition, the second Thursday of November is the annual Ladies Night at Country Ace Hardware. For Ladies Night a community organization “works” the door, charging women a $5 entrance fee with the money going to the organization.
Last year the Country Ace Hardware Ladies Night took place in cooperation with Project Sanctuary. This year Amy and the crew at Ace will be working with the Mountain Family Center Totes Program, highlighting the issue of child hunger.
Ladies Night at Ace will also feature a challenge, similar to the recently popular ice bucket challenge, organizers are calling the “lemon challenge” wherein a person will have to eat a lemon and then challenge someone else to perform the same task.
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