The Ace Hardware store in Norwood is set to move from its spot in the town’s core to what was formerly The Hitchin’ Post — a beloved restaurant and cowboy bar that has been empty for some time — on the edge of town.
The owners of Ace Hardware, Tom and Jennifer Mortell, purchased the “Hitch” in November.
Last week, representatives of Ace Hardware had a meeting via Zoom with Norwood’s town officials to discuss the annexation process and what that involves. In this way, the building, which sits just outside of town limits, will in the future officially reside in Norwood proper.
In the Zoom meeting, town administrator Patti Grafmyer was joined by town’s new interim planner, Henry Hemphill, who explained the paperwork with the two-step process.
Overall, town officials believe the annexation is a good thing.
“And, yes, it is a positive move to annex for not only the sales and property tax revenue, but also to keep the Ace Hardware store here,” Grafmyer said. “I think we all remember how difficult it was when we did not have a hardware store. The Mortells have always been proactive business owners and have had Norwood’s best interest at heart.”
The Mortell family has said they feel the annexation will help support the town’s tax base, and that it would be unfortunate for their business to reside outside of the town’s limits because of that revenue loss.
They added last week’s Zoom meeting was productive, and that Grafmyer and Hemphill were very helpful.
Now, the owners hope to be in their new space as soon as possible. They’ll begin moving in February, after the new fixtures and shelving are established in the building.
The owners said they’re grateful for Norwood community members who have donated their time in helping to clear the old space. Folks like Pete Franklin, Marilyn Williams, Jeff Donaldson, Brian Batten, Brian Griffith, Sean Hernandez, Sandy Hartman and others helped by moving old Hitch items out of the building, rehoming them and more.
Donaldson and Batten brought a tractor to the old Hitch, helped lift heavy materials and removed old glass bottles from the yard. Others showed up to help clean and weed-eat. Hernandez salvaged old lighting and took down the beloved sketch portraits that were handed out. Williams and Franklin helped get the old bar and countertop out of the space.
Others came and reclaimed kitchen items and more.
“Everybody has been really helpful,” the family said.
The owners, and the employees of Ace Hardware, are excited to operate in a bigger location. Ace employee Billy Welch has said he’s excited to have a new shop, which will make a big difference for the small-engine repair work he does.
Tom Mortell has said he would like for the greater to community to express their wishes for what they’d like to see in-house. He said they now have the capability for increased agricultural supplies, additional feeds and more fencing materials. Those with ideas should reach out to the store manager, Chase Miller.