An Evolution with Heart: Inside Schofield’s Ace Hardware
In 1918, Woodrow Wilson was the President of the United States, Daylight Savings Time went into effect for the first time, and the doors opened at Schofield’s Hardware Store in Florence, South Carolina.
A lot has changed since 1918, but Schofield’s (now Schofield’s Ace Hardware) place in the community remains the same. Despite a range of national chain big-box retailers, locals still flock to Schofield’s.
“We sell everything from clothing, to hardware, to paint, to about anything you can imagine,” says second-generation owner, Ron Lyles.
Ron and his brother Hank grew up in the store, working alongside their father who purchased Schofield’s from the original owners in 1975. When their father retired in 1992, the brothers began to run the business on their own.
With over 25 years’ experience, Ron Lyles has seen a lot of changes, not only in his store, but in his community as well. “Florence is not a tremendous growth area, but it’s a steady growth area,” says Lyles. “You’ll find every national chain here… We’re close but far enough away from the Charleston, Columbia, Myrtle Beach, and Charlotte markets that we’re sort of all by our self out here.”
Even as a staple in the community for nearly 100 years, it hasn’t been easy for Schofield’s to stay ahead of the competition. Lyles attributes their success to their focus on customer service and their community. “People don’t shop here because of our location, prices, or selection. They shop here because of our employees. We consider them part of the family.”
“The business has changed 180 degrees about 6 times. It’s constantly changing,” says Lyles. “Our principles never change. How you present your store, how you present your merchandise, how you present all of that to a customer, that has changed a lot.”
While their store, their merchandise, and their community may not look anything like they did in 1918, or even 1975, as long as they stay committed to their values, Schofield’s Ace Hardware stands to remain an important part of the Florence, South Carolina community for a long time.