As a locally owned business, we depend on our community to support us. We feel it is important for us to return that support through local causes and charities.
Every July 4th Weekend we sponsor Kingwood’s Annual Street Dance. It is one of our ways of saying Thank You to the community that supports us. Each year 100% of all donations collected go to a local charity. Previous recipients have included the local YMCA, Family Time, Blue Star and Gold Star Moms, The Village Learning Center, American Heart Association and Children’s Miracle Network. In addition to this annual event, we sponsor numerous local Little League Baseball Teams, Kingwood Football League, Kingwood Girls Softball and Blue Tide Aquatics Swim Team. We proudly help with fund raising for many Boy Scout, Girl Scout and Eagle Scout projects as well.
Please read more about the events and sponsorships that are such an important element of Ace Hardware.
In 1980, Rick Alspaugh, a 21-year-old self-described “small town boy” from Illinois moved to Houston to seek his future, if not his fortune. Little did he know the positive impact he would have on a small Texas community in northern Harris County.
Working as a machine tool re-builder for a local machine shop, Alspaugh was perfectly happy in his new locale, having met and become engaged to Dorothy May, a local girl. In 1986, Rick and a friend heard that Kingwood Hardware Store had closed down. Someone suggested they ought to buy the store, located where Starbucks and Stein Mart now join. They decided to investigate the possibilities, and were about to buy the property when Alspaugh’s friend backed out.
Rick called his best friend back home, his father Dick, who was retired from the road construction business. He asked Dick to join him in a new retailing adventure, “if he (Dick) had grown up enough.” That was a long-running joke between Rick and his father. Like all 20-something-year-olds, Rick had all the answers to life, but just hadn’t learned all the questions. His youth and Dick’s experience combined, and they purchased the hardware store facilities. Dick and his wife, Rick’s mother Sue, sold everything in Illinois, and hurriedly joined Rick in their new hometown of Kingwood, TX.
Rick and Dorothy were married, and the new Alspaugh’s True Value Hardware opened in 1986.
Having given up the luxury of weekends and holidays, they jumped into the fray, and the store soon began to succeed. They soon expanded the store to 9,000-square feet from the original 6,000. Rick began featuring a line of charcoal and gas grills, and used the new space to highlight a selection of models. On Saturdays, you could pull up to the storefront, and the heavenly smell of meat smoking on the grill greeted you. Soon, most Saturday customers tried to time their shopping until the early afternoon when they knew Rick and Dick would be serving up succulent samples of the results. To this date, the kettles are smoking meat out in the front parking lot every Saturday. A new Kingwood tradition had been born.
Success was well-earned, and soon Rick was planning for new, larger quarters in Kings Crossing. About that time, the local Ace Hardware, located where Famous Footwear is now located, went out of business. Rick bought their assets, and with a one-year lease on that location, hurried his plans for the new building at the current location. When that new store opened in 1994, he moved all the materials and stock and closed the two old stores. He added a unique marketing concept, a lumberyard shed, in 1997. He is getting ready to open the newly-expanded facilities, increasing the store size to 16,500-square feet later this year.
In 1996, they changed the store to Alspaugh’s Ace Hardware because they felt the new association offered them a much better future. About that time, Dick’s health began to fail. He had a heart attack, but recovered, and was soon back at the store as much as possible. Just before Thanksgiving, in November 1997, Dick died suddenly. The Kingwood community had suffered a great loss, and so had the Alspaugh family.
The Alspaugh family’s involvement in the Kingwood community has been total and is ongoing. In 1995, they started the tradition of a Fourth of July cook-out which draws hundreds of people for the food, fireworks, and festivities. The money raised all goes to charity. As an acknowledgment of such largesse, Rick and Dorothy were awarded by the Ace Hardware corporate offices with a trip to Honolulu and the Pro-Bowl. This honor was earned by the fact that his store was the largest fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network of any Ace store in the entire USA. Unfortunately, their trip was delayed by two days, due to the death of Dorothy’s grandmother.
As an ongoing spirit of giving, Rick has a fundraiser for charity every month, such as Ladies’ Night, Santa Claus’ Kingwood arrival at Christmas, and the Super Bowl related sales and activities. The walls of the stairwell to his office are lined with framed letters, pictures, and commendations from recipients of Rick’s generosity. Practically every local Boy Scout who has worked to attain the rank of Eagle Scout has received Rick’s support and some funding of the Eagle candidate’s project. Upon reaching that goal, each newly appointed Eagle Scout receives a nice gift certificate.
Rick is a member of the Taste of Texas cooking team that competes every year in the World Champion Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Barbeque Cookoff, a huge fundraising endeavor providing multiple college scholarships for Texas youths.
When asked to say what he attributes the success of Alspaugh’s Ace Hardware to, he responded, humbly, that he considers himself a country boy raised by hard-working parents, who taught him the value of taking care of the customer first and foremost.
“You can’t be all things to all people, but you strive to exceed the customer’s expectations at every shopping experience,” he said.
Rick trains and encourages his people to work by that philosophy. They know that the Alspaugh way is the only way to conduct business at the store. As a result, when the big corporate competition began to heat up, Alspaugh’s did not skip a beat, just kept on performing as usual. Rick, Dorothy, Sue, and the Alspaugh’s staff are living proof that caring and service are the key.