Bluffton hardware store opening 2nd location along U.S. 278

When Bobby Heuser and his parents opened Ace Hardware in Buckwalter Place four years ago, they took a leap of faith: None of them had been in retail before.

That faith appears to be paying off as the business expands to its second location along U.S. 278 in Hardeeville.

The steel framework is in place next to Petsmart in New River Crossing.

The plan, Heuser said, is to open for business in January.

“The goal of the store is to provide an accessible store to folks on that side of town,” he said.

The 15,000-square-foot store will be similar in feeling to the location in Buckwalter Place.

However, the larger building — four to five times larger than the existing store — presents an opportunity to offer even more products, Heuser said.

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This rendering shows a new Heuser Ace Hardware being built in New River Crossing in Hardeeville. Courtesy Heuser Ace Hardware

“We want the community to tell us what they want us to carry,” he said. “Our inventory is wildly different than it was four years ago. As people come in, if they can be vocal and tell us (what they want), we’ll listen.”

Heuser said customers can expect a complete hardware store, and they will find a large lawn and garden center as well. The store sits on 2 1/2 acres.

Something unique about the garden center is that it will have a drive-thru.

“You can drive straight into that garden center, and we can load directly into your car,” Heuser said.

Heuser said the hardware store will have a “giant” area dedicated to grills and smokers so shoppers can see and touch them before buying.

In addition, while the Buckwalter Place location carries Benjamin Moore paint, the Hardeeville location will have a full Benjamin Moore paint store with its own entrance.

“It will have its own staff and its own storefront,” Heuser said.

The new location, including the paint store, is expected to have about 25 employees.

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Lisa Wilson is a reporter for The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette. The 25-year newsroom veteran has worked for papers in Louisiana and Mississippi and is happy to call the Lowcountry home.