The history of Peninsula Hardware prior to 1952 is somewhat vague but is believed to have originated in the early nineteen hundreds. It was in August of 1952, Herb Watson and his brother Chuck purchased Peninsula Hardware from Roy Allen. At the time, the store was located on Duke of Gloucester Street near where the College Shop is today.
Williamsburg’s first shopping center, at the intersection of Richmond Road and Monticello Ave, broke ground in 1954. The following year the Watson brothers relocated there and prospered. By 1963 they moved within the shopping center to increase the size of their store from 3,460 to 7,600 square feet.
Herb bought out Chuck’s interest in 1981 and in1986 joined Ace Hardware severing his relationship with Sentry Hardware. From that time to this day the store has been known as Ace Peninsula Hardware.
In February of 1988, Watson once again relocated his store at the end of the shopping center into the space of the former Williamsburg Bowling Center. The store was now 17,400 sq. feet, five times the size of the store he purchased back in 1952!
On November 1, 1989, Herb Watson retired and sold Ace Peninsula Hardware to Terry Deaver. Three years later, Ace Hardware Corporate honored Ace Peninsula Hardware with the first ever National Six Star Awards. This prestigious honor was given to the top four Ace Hardware retailers for that year.
During the early 1990’s, as Williamsburg continued to grow, it became apparent the market could accommodate another hardware store. In July of 1995, Terry Deaver opened a second store located in the Governors Green Shopping Center. This Ace was four miles from the original store and had 7,500 square feet of retail.
Over the next several years both stores experienced phenomenal growth. In 1997 Deaver retrofitted and expanded the original store by 5,000 square feet. The undertaking took five months and was successful due to the efforts from Ace Corporate as well as the store’s associates. The Grand Reopening was held in May of 1998 and proved to be the best business day in the store’s history. That fall, Ace Peninsula Hardware was once again honored by Ace Corporate with the esteemed President’s Cup Award which is given to the top Ace retailer of that year.
During the late nineties and throughout the 2000’s there was an emergence of Big Box retail stores in the Williamsburg market. Competition had never been tougher, but the two Ace stores were able to withstand these large retailers through niche marketing and outstanding customer service.
In 2003 Deaver took an opportunity to expand outside the Williamsburg market. On November 4, 2003 he opened a 14,400 square foot Ace Store on Warwick Blvd. in Newport News, VA. Exceeding projections, this store hit the ground running and has never looked back. It continues to do very well today.
Store number four was opened in Hampton Virginia three years later. Taking about fifty percent of a vacant Winn Dixie on Nickerson Boulevard, this 23,000 sq. foot store is the largest in the chain and was “truly state of the art”.
In 2013, another opportunity to expand into Hampton presented itself. What was once a Books-A- Million bookstore located in the Hampton Towne Centre Shopping Center is now a 20,000 sq. foot Ace Hardware.
In 2018 both the Williamsburg and the adjacent Monticello Shopping Center were purchased by Broad Street Realty from Bethesda, MD. Their intent was to demolish most of the Williamsburg Shopping Center, rebuild and remodel the Monticello Center and combine both centers under the name “Midtown Row’. Ace was to relocate from Richmond Road into the Monticello Center. In what proved to be a daunting undertaking the move began late September and was completed in the first week of November. The Grand- reopening on December 1st was a huge success.
In early 2019 the owners of Grafton True Value, Ron Wade and Roger Copenhaver, decided to retire and put up for sale the store they’ve operated for the last forty-two years. On June 4th they sold their store to Peninsula Hardware. With the help of Ace Corporate and with the tireless effort from the existing staff, we were able to completely retrofit the store while making the conversion from True Value to Ace in time for the Grand reopening on October 12th. It was a huge success.
Always looking for new opportunities, an existing hardware and lumber store located in Providence Forge came up for sale in early 2021. After months of negotiations, we purchased the store from Nancy Jones in July 2021. During the next seven months we added an additional 2,000 square of retail space and completely remodeled the store while converting to Ace. We held our Grand Reopening in March of 2022.
Peninsula Hardware has been part of the Virginia Peninsula communities for nearly 100 years and has been locally owned and operated by only three families. There are very few companies, especially small business, that have enjoyed such longevity in today’s competitive market. Ace Peninsula Hardware has been successful over the years because of their willingness to meet the needs of their customers. Our loyal and dedicated staff is second to none and is always striving to provide the best customer service possible.
Realizing that our success is entirely dependent on the communities we serve, Ace Peninsula Hardware supports such organizations as the Children’s Miracle Network, United Way, Toys for Tots, Williamsburg Youth Baseball League, Warwick Little League, Phoebus Little League, York County Little League, Housing Partnership, Heritage Humane Society and Avalon to name a few.
There remains a bright future ahead for Ace Peninsula Hardware even with today’s newer and tougher competition. Ace Peninsula Hardware will always strive to be on the leading edge of hardware retailing as we move in the future. We will never lose sight of what has made us successful, our loyal customers.