Pete's Ace Hardware Since 1926
Since 1926, Pete’s ACE Hardware has been a fixture in Castro Valley.
Since 1926, Pete’s ACE Hardware has been a fixture in Castro Valley, offering the very best in helpful advice and friendly service to their many customers. Founded by Peter Selmeczki, a Hungarian immigrant, Pete’s ACE Hardware has been in the same location on the boulevard since the day it opened.
When Peter and his wife, Mary opened Pete’s Hardware, the front half of the store was stocked with hardware and the back half was an auto painting shop. Pete soon realized that he could not spray paint cars and provide service to his hardware customers at the same time, so he gave up the auto painting business to concentrate on the hardware store, even though he knew more about auto paint than hardware. Together, the family learned the hardware business with the help of their customers and their suppliers.
In the beginning, Pete’s Hardware catered mostly to agricultural interests – chicken, rabbit and dairy ranchers, as well as fruit farmers. The store carried brooder stoves, chicken wire, along with potbellied stoves and kerosene heaters. Gallon jugs were a fast moving item during the bootlegging era. As Castro Valley began to grow, the store’s inventory started to change, as many of the local contractors began purchasing their building supplies from Pete’s.
The original Pete’s Hardware building stood where the parking lot is now. It had a brick front, a well off to the side, wooden floors and 2,000 square feet jam-packed with various items. In 1932, the store got a new look when the boulevard was widened and paved, becoming a state highway. Originally, the store was set back 20 feet from the road but the state needed 22 feet, so Pete and Mary decided to cut off the front of the store and add on to the back.
Following military service during World War II, Pete and Mary’s sons, Frank and Ernie, returned to Castro Valley to take charge of the business while Pete and Mary enjoyed semi-retirement. Pete died at age 69 in 1952. Mary, who died in 1963, watched proudly as her sons continued to expand the store’s inventory as the needs of the community grew. In 1968, Ernie and Frank decided to join with other hardware dealers to strengthen their buying power by becoming a member of the ACE Hardware buying group. In 1974, a new 7,200 square foot store was built to better serve the contractors and homeowners of the community. Ernie continued operating the business after the death of Frank in 1975 until he retired at the age of 83 in 2000.
Today history is repeating itself.
Today, history is repeating itself with Ernie’s daughter Linda and her husband, Jeff, along with their son Jason operating as a family business. They have expanded the store to 12,000 square feet and employ 48 people.
Pete’s ACE Hardware is now a fourth generation family operated business, and the oldest business in Castro Valley. Today, the philosophy of Pete’s ACE Hardware is the same as it was when the doors first opened in 1926.