Our weather has finally gotten nice and it’s time to dust off those gardening tools and get to work. We all dream of a gorgeous garden we can spend the summer tending, but sometimes we need help achieving that goal. First, there is the desire to not have the same garden as everyone else. From the plants to the yard decor, we want ours to stand out. Then, there is the fact that not all of us have green thumbs.

Lucky for us, Lincoln Creek Lumber Ace Hardware in Centralia, Market Street Ace Hardware in Chehalis and Lincoln Creek Lumber Ace Hardware in Tumwater come to the rescue of brown thumbs everywhere by providing a large selection and expert advice.

Help for the Brown Thumb

Getting a garden going is not cheap. Then, to have most of the plants die because you over- or under-watered, put a shade-loving plant in the sun or burnt your rose to a crisp with too much fertilizer is infuriating.

Chehalis Ace Hardware
This larger-than-life bear is just one of the treasures waiting to be discovered at the Chehalis Ace Hardware. Photo credit: Kristina Lotz

Ace understands that, and so they make sure they have knowledgeable staff in their garden centers to help answer any questions you may have. Harvey Larson, for example, is the assistant store manager at the Centralia Ace Hardware and has also been a certified nursery man for over forty years. “If you add up the experience of everyone working at a big box store, it won’t come close to mine,” Harvey says.

Of course, not everyone they hire has Harvey’s experience. But Ace makes sure their employees can help anyone who walks in their doors. Tumwater Store Manager Ben Nesemeier explains, “Ace has a superior training program so that even if someone is not as knowledgeable, they can learn in-house with our training, instruction and education programs. This means everyone at Ace is a knowledgeable worker who can help our customers.”

Ben adds that this also gives them an edge, because everyone is trained on everything, not just their department. We all know the frustration of having to wait for the one “department worker” to help every customer at big box stores. At Ace, this is eliminated as any staff member in the store can and will help you in any department, including their garden centers. This is part of the company’s dedication to its customers, which is something the team embodies.

Ace Hardware Chehalis
Ace Hardware’s large inventory of soil and fertilizer, along with expert staff, will help your garden flourish. Photo credit: Kristina Lotz

“There is a lot of effort and care that go into this place on the part of the employees,” Ben says. “They genuinely care about this place and we make it clear to every person walking in the door how important they are to us.”

Variety is the Spice of Gardening

Truer words were never spoken when it comes to gardening. The whole point of an outdoor space is to let your imagination soar, which it can’t do if your garden looks exactly like everyone else’s on the block. But the big box stores use all the same supplies, so even their plants are the same, not to mention the decor – 12-inch tall, blue-shirted gnome with a red hat, anyone?

Instead, visit any one of the three Ace Hardware locations in Tumwater, Centralia and Chehalis and you will be treated to variety you probably thought wasn’t possible in a smaller store. Yet it is their size that allows them to have this variety. “What we lack in sheer square footage we more than gain in our versatility,” says Ben. “Because we are smaller we are more nimble and can do stuff the bigger stores can’t or won’t do and that really speaks a lot to who we are and I think our customers appreciate it.”

Yard decor
You can’t get more unique than a steam train yard decoration that actually steams and has color-changing lights. Photo credit: Kristina Lotz

If you are looking for something truly unique, Ace can order almost anything from their vendor’s make. For example, they can order anything from Alpine, a leading manufacturer of water fountains. “We have a bigger line of product than the big box stores and we keep it local – the money stays right here,” Harvey says.

Each of the stores has its own flavor, so you will find an abundance of treasures for your garden at each one. For example, the Centralia Lincoln Creek Lumber Ace Hardware has a larger selection of pottery than the other two locations. They have imported Italian pots, as well as locally made ones from Kent at the Chehalis store. You will also find plants that other places don’t carry, such as fox glove, honeysuckle and peach-colored lupine.

The Chehalis store has a big focus on decor, and is definitely a “must-shop” for those looking to make their garden truly one-of-a-kind. “We try to think outside of the box even amongst our other stores,” says Justin Stroup, manager of the Market Street Ace Hardware store in Chehalis. “To that end, we carry much more exotic and unique products than anyone else. And we can do this because we are smaller stores that are given control over our inventory, unlike the big box stores.”

Yard decorations
If pint-sized decor is what you are after, the Chehalis store is stocked with fairy garden essentials. Just look for the giant tree shed and take a peek inside. Photo credit: Kristina Lotz

They have a tree trunk garden shed (for sale), that is full of fairy garden items. They have a life-sized Sasquatch and a larger-than-life bear. One of their coolest pieces of yard art, however, is their steam train. The train actually gives off steam out its stack and the lights change color.

You can also find all the essentials you need such as tools, soil and fertilizers to help your garden grow. They carry favorite brands, including the full line of Scotts brand – Miracle Gro, Round up and Whitney Farms. All of the Aces also carry Husqvarna equipment.

So whether you are looking for a one-of-a-kind garden decor item, gardening essentials or help getting your garden to grow, Ace is definitely the place to shop. For more information, including hours and directions to each location, visit their websites: Lincoln Creek Lumber Ace Hardware Tumwater, Lincoln Creek Lumber Ace Hardware Centralia and Market Street Ace Hardware Chehalis.

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