End of an Era: Evergreen Ace Hardware
In the midst of the the Great Recession in 2010, Judith Pyle was laid off from her long-standing job at PEMCO Insurance. Times were hard, times were changing.
While looking for work, Judith caught sight of an advertisement for a local hardware store for sale in Tacoma. After looking into the store, a brokerage pointed her a different direction: Everett, WA.
Long story short, in December of 2010, Judith moved from Shoreline up to Everett to run and own the Ace Hardware on Evergreen Way. After working 12 hour days for eight and a half years, she is preparing to pass the baton onto new owners.
During this transition, two things are certain: Judith has impacted lives, and will be sorely missed.
I sat down with Judith behind her building amidst forklifts and pallets, the sun brightly shining. Judith’s spirit is loving, adventurous, and unafraid. A lover of the arts, she gets excited when talking about her discovery of Elizabeth Person years ago, and how she likes to sell her prints near the front of the store.
Gushing over the Ace storefront oil painting print she commissioned from Marysville artist Janet Myer that proudly hangs above the store’s front doors, she recalls how at a corporate Ace Hardware event one of those oil paintings sold for charity for over $800.
She’s proud of local artists.
She recounts the time when her and her husband took a glass blowing class at the Schack, and how much she enjoys being a patron of community staples like Sorticulture and the Artists Garage Sale.
If fact, just a few weekends ago I caught her mingling with the community at the Everett YMCA’s Groundbreaking Celebration, proud to be part of something good in her town.
So much of her life has been invested in the art of hard work and hardware. From being her dad’s helper by handing him wrenches and screwdrivers, to having an impromptu coffee date in front of the QFC next door to Ace with the man that would, unbeknownst to her, soon become her husband.
It’s not all daisies and rosebuds, though.
Through her time in Everett, she has seen the impact of drugs on the community. She remarks that within the past year there has been an increase in drug activity in the 98203 area, and how she wants to do something about it.
“Homeless people need more than a roof over their heads,” she said. “I don’t know the answer to the problem, but we should try to find the solution together.”
As for what will happen to our beloved Evergreen Ace, that’s up to the new owners Greg and Christine Egelstad, owners of the Lake Stevens Ace. But I’m not worried.
Judith and the Egelstads are close friends, knowing each other from monthly meetings they and other nearby Ace Hardware owners have to help support each other. When looking for new owners for her Ace, Judith said that it was the perfect fit.
According to Judith, these guys are Ace Hardware fanatics. They met at an Ace back when Christine was 15 years old working as a cashier, and unsurprisingly their love story grew up around the kindness and helpfulness that is Ace Hardware.
Judith’s last day as the owner of the Evergreen Ace will be June 30th, 2018. She said she will miss her staff and customers, who have become her family over the past eight years.
To usher her onward, the Evergreen Ace is having a two-day bucket sale June 29th and June 30th, where anything you fit in a five gallon bucket is 20% off (excluding power tools and other large items, see store for details). Friday is for Ace Members only (aka smart people) and Saturday it’s free game for all.
They say they can fit a wheel barrel in one of these five gallon buckets. I’m intrigued.
During the crazy housing market during the summer of 2017, my husband and I decided to take the plunge and buy a 1925 house in the Glacier View Neighborhood. Anyone who has bought an old house in Everett knows what comes next.
Endless trips to the local hardware store to fix the shower handle that’s rotted away, tarps to cover up that gaping hole that was once an exterior wall (yes that happened, and yes it was traumatizing), wasp killer and foam spray to take care of unwanted guests, etc.
Through all of our crazy renovations and mishaps, Ace Hardware has been there for us. I know it seems weird to gush over a corporate entity that has locations across the nation, but good work deserves to be recognized.
So thank you Judith, and everyone at Ace who has been our helpers for the past year. I speak for both my husband and I when I say we appreciate you.
Anna is an Everett-based graphic designer who may need a tissue right now *sniff*. She also hangs with the Live in Everett team, helping manage the daily doings of the site.