A changing of the guard quietly occurred in Oxford Monday afternoon as the sign on the Tom’s Hardware store was removed.
Located at 558 S. Lapeer Rd., the store recently closed after diligently serving the community for 44 years. It was owned and operated by the Toteff family.
Although Tom’s was the last hardware store in town, Oxford won’t have to wait very long before another rises to take its place.
Marv Stone, owner of Stones Ace Hardware, has purchased the 17,000-square-foot building and is planning to make it the fifth location in his chain.
The other stores are in Clinton Township, Richmond, Romeo and Orion Township.
“I’m excited about being in Oxford,” said Stone, a resident of Shelby Township. “This is the kind of town that I like to run a business in. It feels good.”
He enjoys doing business in small towns because folks are closer and it’s easier to “make connections with customers and help people.”
Nuts and bolts are definitely in Stone’s blood. He’s a second generation hardware man.
His father started the Ace Hardware store in Utica in 1951. Today, it’s owned by his brother.
In 1985, Stone bought the Gingellville Ace Hardware in Orion Township. After many years of operating there, he closed the store, sold the building, moved to 3015 S. Baldwin Rd. (inside the shopping center where the Kroger grocery store is located) and reopened as Stones Ace Hardware of Orion.
It was about 12 years ago that Stone decided to branch out and open other stores.
Fast-forward to today. He’s planning to open his Oxford store this fall.
“We’re shooting for September, but we’re running into some issues that I wasn’t planning on and it may take a little longer,” Stone said. “But September/October is our plan.”
Unlike the impersonal big-box stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s, Stone believes his stores offer friendly, helpful service provided by “people who care” and are very knowledgeable about both the merchandise and how to get the job done right.
“We make sure that the stores are running for the benefit of our customers,” he said.
He truly enjoys meeting people and working with them to solve their problems and make their projects run more smoothly.
“That’s what’s fun,” Stone said. “That’s why I’m there – to be helpful.”
Stones Ace Hardware of Oxford will sell everything from the popular Carhartt line of work clothes to quality paints from Benjamin Moore, Valspar, and Clark and Kensington.
Stone vowed his store will have “the best fastener department you’re going to find anyplace.”
“Nuts, bolts, screws, fasteners, anchors – I’ll have it,” he said. “No one’s going to compare to what we’ve got.”
Traditional hardware stores like his specialize in “hard-to-find” items that customers won’t see on the shelves of any big-box store, he noted.
Stone is looking forward to doing business in Oxford.
“I’m just thankful to be in the community,” he said. “This is my kind of place . . . In this community, people do things themselves. They’re self-sufficient. They take care of themselves. I like that attitude.”