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Chamber’s Phoenix Award: Roger Andrews, Ace Hardware in Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 September 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – The former Jubilee in Medina has been gutted and turned into a hardware and lumber business at 342 East Center St. Ace Hardware opened the site in April 2013 following more than a year of renovations.

MEDINA – It sat empty for nearly a decade, a drag on the community, especially with the downtown enjoying a rebirth a few blocks away.

The former Jubilee store not only was vacant for several years, but a previous owner stopped paying taxes on the property. Orleans County became the owner.

While other developers couldn’t see a future for the building, Roger Andrews saw possibilities at the site. Andrews, 42, bought the former Hahn Hardware on West Avenue in Medina on April 11, 2011.

He wanted more space so he could offer more lumber and other choices for customers. Medina Mayor Andrew Meier was at the closing for the Hahn site. Meier, an attorney, listened to Andrews’ share a goal for more retail space.

Meier suggested Andrews take a look at the former Jubilee store on East Center Street. That building had been empty since 2006, closing soon after Walmart opened a Supercenter in Albion.

Andrews went to see the former Jubilee and immediately saw possibilities in the vacant and run-down property. He acquired the site from the county by paying $100,000 in back taxes.

For 13 months he worked at transforming the 26,000-square-foot building. The store was gutted, with walls taken out to accommodate an Ace Hardware. Andrews opened the Ace on April 22 to praise from the community. He held the grand-opening celebration on May 18-19.

“It’s really cleaned up that end of the business district,” Meier said in May.

The Orleans County Chamber of Commerce honored Andrews with the “Phoenix Award,” given each year for a major renovation in the county.

Roger Andrews, owner of the Ace Hardware in Medina, talks with customer Gloria Short in May at the former Jubilee site, which was renovated in a 13-month project.

The former Jubilee is a large building at the gateway to the downtown business district, coming on Route 31 from Albion.

Andrews said the former Jubilee site has tripled the space for hardware supplies. The other side of the building includes room for lumber. Andrews said the site has 36,000 different products and he will add more if there is a demand for them.

“With this style and layout it is so much easier for the customers,” Andrews said while giving a tour of the building this spring. “It’s bigger and brighter. You have aisles you can walk up and down.”

He changed the façade of the former Jubilee to make it look like a store from the early 1900s. He said the building provides a nice transition to the historic district.

“It would have been a shame to let this building sit,” he said. “This is the right project for this spot.”

Andrews also owns an Ace Hardware in Derby, south of Hamburg. He has 26 years in the business, starting as a teen-ager.

The former Hahn site didn’t sit empty for long. Kim Lockwood moved her women-only gym from Main Street to the site across from the library on Sept. 5, more than doubling her space.

Andrews said he enjoys reclamation projects and is interested in working on more buildings in the future.

He was praised during the Chamber awards banquet.

“The changes in that building are amazing,” said Cindy Robinson, the Chamber president. “He took what was becoming an eyesore and turned it into an asset.”