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Helpful Hardware 

Husband and wife Scott and Kelly Fox are the fourth generation of Kelly's family to run Harry's Ace Hardware. Nationwide, Ace Hardware stores are marketed as 'The Helpful Place," and locally, the Harry's Ace Hardware stores (3535 Magazine St., 896-1500, 4817 General Meyer Ave., Algiers, 896-1520, 1521 Metairie Road, Metairie, 896-1550) have built their reputation by living up to that motto.

'We offer old-fashioned customer service. We have a lot of small home improvement items that are hard to find, and we can special order almost anything," says Harry's head of human relations Kelly Becker Fox, whose great-grandfather, Harry Offner started the business in 1910.

Originally opened on Rampart Street, the first Harry's relocated to its current Magazine Street site in the 1950s and has been a strong neighborhood presence ever since. With 9,000 square feet of recently renovated space " stocking everything from paint to gardening equipment to pots and pans " Harry's is a popular destination for Uptown, Garden District and downtown residents, while the Old Metairie store, opened in 1982, and the Algiers store, opened in 1968, serve their neighborhoods with an equally helpful hand.

'For the level of service we offer, we have to have a lot of available associates," says Fox. 'In the big box stores, it can be hard to find someone to answer any questions. We want you to be able to come and get what you want and get on with your day " or come in and talk to a familiar face for as long as you want and feel welcome like you're family."

Harry's stores also offer other services " such as key cutting, glass cutting, pipe cutting and threading and lock smithing " that you're not likely to find in big box stores. Both the Metairie and Algiers stores carry propane, and the Metairie store does re-screening.

All of the stores stock paint for every price point, economy to high end, including Ace Hardware's exclusive Ace Sensations brand. Available in flat, satin and semi-gloss finishes, it allows you to wipe away stains, which means a longer life for your paint job.

Because no hardware need is considered too small at Harry's, customers come back time and again, and their faces are often as familiar as those of the staff, some of whom have been with the store for 20 years.

'We're a real community-oriented place to work and shop," says Fox. 'We try to have customers for life."

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