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North San Rafael Hardware Store Opens this Week

New mom and pop store will have its ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday afternoon.

Come Thursday, North San Rafael neighbors won’t have to travel far for nails, gardening and their other hardware needs.

, owned by Jeff and Michelle Leopold of Greenbrae, will be opening its doors on 180 Merrydale Road. It will be the only general hardware store between Pini Ace in Novato and Jackson’s Hardware in downtown San Rafael.

“It’s sort of a hardware desert,” Michelle said. “So we knew it would be a good place to open.”

The Leopolds had been hoping to open a hardware store in Marin for 10 years, Michelle said, but they couldn’t find the right location. They looked at several possibilities, but when they found the 5,200 square foot store that used to be a Sizzler near Highway 101, they knew they found the right spot.

“It’s an easy on and off from the freeway, and it works for anyone who doesn’t want to make the trip to Home Depot,” Michelle said.

On top of the regular things you find in a hardware store, Marin Ace will also feature a food canning section, a large housewares section and a lighting section that carries special LED light bulbs. And for fun, the store will also have a working popcorn machine that can be rented out for events.

“We’re hoping for customers to get all the right things they need in one stop,” Michelle said.

The Leopolds hired nine employees, two of which came from the former Pacific Lumber store, and they hope to expand if business goes well.

Owning a business is nothing new to the Leopolds. The family owns San Francisco hardware store Standard 5 and 10, which first opened in 1939. They also owned store during the dotcom boom, called Gourmet Greeting, which was a Williams and Sonoma meets a Hallmark, as Michelle put it.

The ribbon cutting ceremony for Marin Ace will be Thursday, Dec. 15 at 4:30p.m. The official grand opening ceremony will be held in February.

“I’ve heard so many people say how they want a smaller, local hardware store in this area again,” said Rebecca Page, whose family owned the old Cook’s Hardware near in Terra Linda.

Page’s family decided to sell Cook’s after the and opened in the area in the early 1990s. Under new owners, the store eventually closed in the early 2000s.

“We need a hardware store that can cater to this area,” said Page, noting that at Cook’s they always got special requests to accommodate all the Eichler homes in Terra Linda.

“No one wants to drive all the way down to Home Depot just to get nails,” she said. 

Leonard Ginsburg December 15, 2011 at 11:12 PM
Welcome to the neighborhood and good luck to you both. My fantasy (every man's) to own and run a hardware store.
Marin Ace - Owner Michelle Leopold December 16, 2011 at 01:59 PM
Thanks for your warm welcome Leonard and all our San Rafael neighbors and friends! Marin Ace is delighted to have opened our doors, and it was a pleasure meeting so many of you yesterday on our opening day. We look forward to helping you with your projects for many, many years to come. Warmly, Michelle, Jeff, and the Marin Ace team Richard, Steve, Chris, Karl, Alby, Sarah, Abel, Uriel, and Wilson
Marin Ace - Owner Michelle Leopold December 16, 2011 at 02:02 PM
Thank you Leonard! We're so lucky to have wonderful neighbors, and we promise Marin Ace will be a good neighbor in turn! (And yes, my husband Jeff's fantasy is now fulfilled ;-) -Michelle (the "mom" in our mom & pop hardware store)

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