Ace Hardware of South Fulton

Charlston Austin and Warren Pegram had been planning for the opening of Ace Hardware of South Fulton for some time…and then COVID-19 arrived. The co-owners had to regroup and pivot to address the challenges brought on by a pandemic.

Their store is located in the same shopping plaza as Goodwill’s Old National Store and Career Center and as they were going store-to-store distributing their business cards, they were pleased to learn more about Goodwill.

Employment Specialist Tammy Thomas met Charlston and Warren at the Old National Grand Opening and inquired as to whether they might be able to use a few interns, who would be fully funded due to a generous youth employment grant provided by Bank of America. The partners quickly agreed to serve as a placement site.

The interns performed well and benefitted greatly from the willingness of the co-owners to develop opportunities to fit with career goals. One of the interns who desires a career in bookkeeping was placed in the office rather than the sales floor. At the end of the internship, another intern did such an outstanding job that a permanent position was offered.

Ace Hardware is known for its commitment to helping those with barriers achieve gainful employment. The company seeks to hire veterans and offer second chances to those with criminal backgrounds. They also engage in community service initiatives.

In a very short time, the Goodwill/Ace Hardware partnership has built a strong foundation and Charlston and Warren are looking forward to learning more about the depth of Goodwill’s service offerings and deepening this relationship. In recognition of their willingness to provide first jobs to youth and their openness to working with those with employment-related challenges, Goodwill of North Georgia is pleased to honor Ace Hardware of South Fulton with the 2021 Breaking Barriers Award.