SMITHVILLE — After hosting a ribbon cutting Sept. 24, the locally known Porter family opened a new Porters Ace Hardware in Smithville Marketplace.
Store manager Alex Porter said it was fun having the ribbon cutting, which included the store’s youngest guest, a six-week-old baby whose older brother, 1, was mesmerized by a Bobcat, a piece of motorized heavy equipment, outside.
”To see my grandpa (Mack Porter) smiling at the event and to see how happy he was is really what I think I liked the most,” said the manager.Mack Porter, patriarch to the Porter family, was raised in Smithville, where his father moved in the 1880s. Mack was part of the first class inducted to the Smithville School District Wall of Fame in 2015. When he returned from World War II, he opened a lumber yard in Kearney, established 1952, and moved his family there. Since then, sons and grandchildren have continued to call Kearney home.
“I’m third generation. On any given day, all three generations can be found at one of our locations,” Alex said. “My grandpa still works at the Kearney store every day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.”
Alex added that his dad also works at the Kearney location, member of the family’s second generation. Additionally, Kent’s daughter, Natalie Thompson, works at the corporate office and can be found bouncing between all locations.In opening a new store in Smithville, the Porters wanted to get back to where Mack was raised, owner of Smithville’s Ace Hardware Kent Porter said. So when the Cosentinos bought Smithville Marketplace, Kent made a call.
“We said we wanted to open a place in Smithville and were considering that space,” Kent said. “They told me they wanted us next door to their Price Chopper, so we were looking for them and they were looking for us. It was a perfect match.”
The new hardware store is third to open in the new developing marketplace, soon to be followed by the Price Chopper.
The hardware business has about 14 employees, Alex said, including himself.
“We want to be known for four key things,” Alex said. “We’ve got home preservation; outdoor and grilling; power, meaning power tools and outdoor equipment; and paint.” Each of the listed categories take up large portions of the store, identified by overhead signs.
While these are key features of Porters, there is a plethora of other items including thermostats, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, tumblers featuring the 1990s hit sitcom “Friends,” bird feeders and houses, home decor items, Hallmark cards, firewood, light bulbs in a variety of colors, batteries and welcome mats.
”One time someone asked me for cow manure,” employee Codie Sherwood said with a chuckle. “Some people were saying they don’t want a franchise in Smithville,” Alex said. “We aren’t a franchise. We are a cooperative, and this business is family owned. We have roots here in Smithville and are very happy to be back.”