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New hardware store preparing to move into downtown spot

A large, empty slot in the LaGrange downtown row of storefronts will soon be filled up again as the former Big John’s Furniture Store building is currently being fixed up for a new tenant.

Tim and Iva Graber are working hard to renovate the building as they prepare to open an Ace Hardware Store at the South Detroit Street location. “We’ve been working on this since spring,” Tim said. They approached Ace Hardware and got approval to open the store. Graber noted that the store has 4,500 sq. ft., and Ace had wanted a store at least 5,000 sq. ft. in size, but worked with them to make the location work. “We could’ve built something outside of town,” Graber added, but he and his wife really wanted to keep it downtown. “I’ve always like the old hardware look,” Graber said.

One concern on the location was parking. Graber said he contacted the town, who worked to get the parking lot across the street completed to help with that issue.

“We want to keep the community feeling and build the downtown back up,” Graber said. He has become active with Focus LaGrange as part of that effort to improve the downtown area. The Grabers also own the neighboring building, and see that as a spot for possible future expansion or an additional business.

The store is a family business, with Tim and Iva working together and looking forward to having their four daughters work with them as they grow up.

The Grabers are looking to open November 12, with a larger grand opening planned for the spring. The store will stock 15,000 products, with a focus on paints, Graber stated.