Store visited by Ace celebrity and “Apprentice” winner The new Ace Hardware store in Atascocita celebrated their official grand opening over the weekend with food, drinks, a moonwalk, prize giveaways and more. The festivities included a book signing by John Henry, famous for his spices and sauces, who has recently been taping a segment for the Food Network. The welcoming and well-organized store offers all of the finds one might expect to access at an Ace store, and some other more unusual items. Owned by longtime Kingwood residents Henry and Carol Norton, the store offers some fun merchandise, such as margarita machines. “I didn't think those would sell,” said Henry Norton, “but they have.” He credits his wife's knack for knowing what unique products will go over well with their customers. Carol Norton says that the store's location, just off Atascocita Road, was no coincidence. “We built the store off Atascocita Road deliberately, so we could have room to help with fundraising for schools and other organizations,” she said. She explained that the adjacent land has adequate room for all types of fundraisers, and they even added an awning at the front of the store to shield those raising funds through bake sales, barbecues and Girl Scout cookie sales from the rain. An added convenience to shoppers is their full-service post office. Employee Rhonda Babin has been trained by the U.S. Postal Service to operate the mini post office and the prices for stamps and shipping, etc., are the same as they are at the regular post office. The store was visited last Wednesday by the Dream Ace Contest bus, filled with the final contestants in the Dream Ace store giveaway. Ace Hardware is giving away a complete Ace Hardware store. The new store will be located in Spring and is scheduled to open in June. More than 5,400 aspiring entrepreneurs from all over the country entered to win via the contest's Web site in January. Forty state finalists went on to New York City for the next two rounds, and the 12 remaining finalists were on the bus tour to Houston to visit the site of the future Dream Store. Also on board for the tour was Lou Manfredini, Ace's “Helpful Hardware Man,” as well as the season one winner of “The Apprentice,” Bill Rancic. Rancic has been busy with the company he started on his own 12 years ago and says he still consults with Donald Trump. As his passion is for entrepreneurship, he has also been the spokesman for the Dream Ace Contest. The 12 contestants will be reduced to two this week and the winner will be decided at the Ace Convention in Las Vegas. The two will each give a five-minute presentation of why he or she should own the new store to convention attendees, who will have the final vote. The Atascocita Ace Hardware store is located at 18409 Timber Forest Drive. They also offer many rentals, such as power washers, generators, snakes for plumbing clogs, popcorn machines and 24-foot ladders. The store offers a 5 percent discount to all Humble ISD employees and a 10 percent discount to seniors on Wednesdays. For more information, call the store at 281-446-2240. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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