Innovative Retailer of the Year: Costello ACE Hardware

Not every local hardware store gets to star in a national television show. But Costello Ace Hardware achieved it, and earned the mantle of Innovative Retailer of the Year in so doing. When the Ace Hardware co-op made a deal with NBC to have one of its members fe a tu red on “The Apprentice” reality series last April, the co-op hand-picked Costello Ace Hardware, a star in the chain with 13 locations across Long Island, N.Y.

Vincent Costello, who runs the business with six of his 10 children, started with one 2,300-square-foot store in Deer Park, N.Y., in 1973. He has since built up an impressive stable of stores on some of the most expensive real estate in the nation. Each of the newer stores follows the innovative Ace Vision 21 model and includes specialized categories like upscale decorative hardware and fashion lighting.

“They continue to knock the cover off the ball every time they open a store,” said Ken Nichols, Ace’s vp-retail operations.