Carolina Forest will soon have a hardware store tailored to its residents’ needs.
Bryan Kirit, who owns the ACE store in Socastee, is in the process of opening a second location in the Forest Square Plaza shopping center in Carolina Forest. Kirit said he believes the store will be open the first week of June, if not a little earlier.
The idea for the store is years in the making for Kirit.
“I was looking to put an ACE in Carolina Forest over two years ago,” he said. “It just took some time to find a piece of property that works for what we do.”
Kirit said ACE stores are co-ops, not a franchises, which allows the owners to customize the stores to meet the needs of the community in which they serve.
“That’s the beauty of ACE and why it’s a local store. We serve our local community, not our shareholders,” said Kirit, whose Socastee store has been open since 1980. “If a certain neighborhood has an odd-sized air filter, we’ll probably stock that for them. We can sell barbecue sauce from a local vendor. We can sell really anything we want. We’re not a franchise. I’m beholden to nobody except myself.”
Kirit said the process of opening the store started about a year and a half ago, and he is happy to bring a much-needed service to the community.
“I’d say the demographics and the needs out in Carolina Forest make sense. It’s a growing area,” he said. “There’s no hardware store really close by. People don’t want to fight the traffic of [Highway] 501 all the time. We can service the local community in Carolina Forest with convenience.”
Aside from the typical items carried by a hardware store, Kirit mentioned the Carolina Forest location will have features such as an outdoor area, a propane station, Benjamin Moore Paints and Toro lawnmowers, and it will offer materials for screen repair, custom screens, small-engine repair, chip-key cutting for cars and pine straw.
“When I define who we are, we are three things: we’re convenience, quality and service,” Kirit said. “Convenience is a big key. We’re going to have easy parking — easy to get in and out, easy to get to without having to get on a major interstate. But also if you live on 501 it will be easy to get to. There’s several different roadways in and several different roadways out.”
The ACE store, which will be located at 2148 Oakheart Road, will have a grand opening event, which Kirit said will most likely take place in August. He said the celebration will include special promotions.
“We started this process almost a year and a half ago. It’s nice to see it finally coming together,” Kirit said. “There’s still a lot of hard work to do, but it’s definitely good to see we’re getting close.”