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EP #41: Crabapple Ace Hardware with Matt Szuda

October 08, 20232 min read

What Makes Matt Szuda a Good Neighbor?

Our recent podcast episode with Matt Szuda, owner of Crabapple Ace Hardware, provided a fascinating glimpse into the world of hardware store ownership. Matt's transition from over a decade in the corporate world of Ace Hardware to owning his own store has been an exciting journey, filled with both challenges and rewards. His story is a testament to the importance of customer service and the significant role local businesses play in their communities.

One of the most interesting aspects of Matt's journey has been his commitment to preserving old-fashioned customer service. In a retail landscape where this art is increasingly lost, Ace Hardware is striving to keep it alive. Matt and his team aim to help customers efficiently, ensuring they find what they need without spending unnecessary time in the store. This dedication to customer service has been a crucial factor in Crabapple Ace Hardware's success, setting them apart from their competition.

Despite the customer-centric approach, running a small hardware store isn't without its challenges. Matt admitted that back office tasks such as order processing, product receiving, marketing, IT issues, and accounting have consumed more time than he initially anticipated. However, with the help of his wife and their focus on increasing the store's social media presence, they have been able to navigate these challenges effectively.

Matt also debunked some common myths about Ace Hardware and small hardware stores in general. He emphasized that while Ace Hardware is a known brand, each store is independently owned and tailored to the needs of its local community. This approach allows each store to cater to unique needs, but it also means that not all stores carry the same products. Additionally, he clarified that the pricing at Ace Hardware is always competitive with big box retailers and online marketplaces like Amazon.

Apart from the operational aspects of the store, Matt also shared his personal favorites in the store. His passion for grilling has led to a more in-depth focus on grills and related accessories at Crabapple Ace Hardware. They offer a wide range of grills, including Big Green Egg, Weber, and Traeger, and even unique additions like Ooni pizza ovens.

Matt's commitment extends beyond his store. He plays an invaluable role in promoting other local businesses in Milton, understanding the immense benefits a thriving local business community brings. His perspective offers an inspiring look at the potential small businesses have to shape their communities positively.

In conclusion, Matt Szuda's journey with Crabapple Ace Hardware highlights the importance of excellent customer service, the unique challenges and rewards of small business ownership, and the integral role local businesses play in their communities. His story serves as an inspiration to other aspiring small business owners and underscores the power of commitment, dedication, and a customer-first approach.

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Stacey Poehler

Executive Producer, Good Neighbor Podcast: Milton & More

Publisher: Our Milton Neighbor, Crabapple Neighbors, Hickory Flat Neighbors


(470) 664-4930

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