Since 1895, countless people have walked through the doors of Evanston’s Lemoi Ace Hardware looking for a helping hand. Some come in looking for an opinion on what color to paint their living rooms. Others come in looking for the best way to clean their home’s windows. And during the holidays, many come in just to browse the store’s eclectic collection of gift ideas.
But then, sometimes, they just come in to say hello.
And that’s the timeless beauty of Lemoi Ace Hardware.
“One day, I was sitting in my office and one of our sales associates was outside helping one of our customer’s change her car battery,” recalls Lemoi. “Those are the sorts of things we do. Our customers are our friends. They are our family. They know our names. And yes, those are the things that I think make us different than other stores out there.”
Indeed, in a world full of big box stores filled with sales gimics and not-so-knowledgeable salespeople, Lemoi certainly stands out. Yet, Lemoi is the first to admit that it can be tough to compete against the Targets and Walmarts of the world.
But he has something that they don’t.
“Our reputation has allowed us to retain customers for generations,” he says. “I think it also helps that we can provide good service and value while at the same time offering fair prices.”
Opened in 1895, Lemoi Ace Hardware is the oldest business in Evanston. Known for their wide selection of home preservation products, BBQ and outdoor living appliances, and holiday gifts, the store has long been known as a place in which integrity and hard work and trust still lives.
“I love to help people,” Lemoi says. “I love the fact that we have had a reputation all of these years for helping people. Since 1981 when I took over, I’m proud that I have been able to keep the same type of staff that my father and grandfather did before me.”
And yes, there is loyalty permeating through everything they do.
“You just don’t see that as much anymore,” Lemoi says quietly.
Lemoi Hardware is currently in the process of building on that loyalty thanks to their recent partnership with Get Dwell, an award-winning team of skilled local craftsmen who provide exceptional remodeling, repair, and handyman products and services to Chicago and the surrounding areas.
“I absolutely love working with the team at Get Dwell, because they have some of the very same ideals that we have,” says Lemoi. “They are the kind of team that when you call them, you are going to get a call back. It’s just who they are at their core.”
With this partnership, Lemoi can now refer customers to Get Dwell to get the work done with the products Lemoi sells.
“A customer can now come into my store and open the door to all of these services that Get Dwell offers,” says Lemoi. “Whether its simply changing a light bulb or getting their gutters cleaned, they know they can trust all of us as a team.”
It’s this kind of evolution that is crucial to the continued success of Lemoi Ace Hardware. And it’s an evolution that Lemoi often ponders.
“I constantly think about my father and my grandfather and my great-grandfather, who actually first made this business a reality,” he says. “I look at the old pictures of when Lemoi Ace Hardware first began, and I wonder if they would be proud of where we are today. I wonder if they would appreciate how far we have come and how we continue to treat people today.”
Make no mistake—we think they would be very proud, Mr. Lemoi.
Lemoi Ace Hardware is located at 1008 Davis Street in Evanston. For more information, call 847-328-4900, or visit LemoiAce.com.