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March 30, 2021

After 55 years in family, Rankin’s Hardware sold

Photo/Lawrence Emerson
Customers still can buy a single screw or bolt in the 20,000-square-foot store that has survived a host of competitors over the last five decades.
We appreciate your support over these many years and look forward to continuing to serve you and our community in the future as part of the Ace Hardware Family Team.
— The Rankin Family in letter to customers
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Marking the end of an era, Rankin’s True Value Hardware in Warrenton has a new owner.

In a one-page letter last week to store charge account customers, “The Rankin Family” stated: “We are pleased to announce Rankin’s True Value Hardware will now become Ace Hardware!

“Beginning April 1, 2021, Ace Hardware will be the new owners/operators of the hardware store.”

One of the owners of Rankin’s, Alice Kniceley refused to comment Monday on the sale of the family’s hardware store.

“When we want to do an interview, we’ll do an interview,” said Mrs. Kniceley, daughter of founder James A. Rankin, who opened the hardware store in 1966 at today’s Warrenton Center Village Center at 251 Lee Highway. “I have other siblings in the family that we’re going to get together, and we’ll make a statement and we’ll contact who we want to make a statement to.”

Mr. Rankin, 90, no longer has a financial interest in the hardware store that originally occupied a much smaller space in the same shopping center.

“I hocked my home for $19,000 and borrowed $3,000 more from the bank” to launch the business, he said in an interview seven years ago.

The 20,000-square-foot store sells paint, hardware, gardening supplies, tools, electrical and plumbing materials, lighting fixtures, grills, patio furniture, pellet, gas and wood stoves, household items and sporting goods. Customers still can buy one screw or bolt in the store that has survived in a town that a few decades ago had competitors Blue Ridge Hardware, Risdon's Hardware and Warrenton Supply.

In early March, word leaked of the store’s potential sale to an Ace Hardware affiliate.

“I don’t own any part of it any longer,” Mr. Rankin said at the time. “I gave it all to the children, and I don’t know what all they got going on. I’ve heard bits and parts. I don’t know anything to tell anybody, because I don’t know.”

Mr. Rankin continues to own and operate Rankin’s Furniture, which he opened at Waterloo Station Shopping Center 28 years ago.

His nephew Kent Rankin will continue as hardware store manager under the new ownership, which also will retain the staff, according to the letter to customers.

A sign on the hardware store entrance door reads that Rankin’s will be closed “all day Wednesday, March 31, for computer upgrade.” Another states: “Now hiring, please inquire within. Weekends, evenings required.”

The Rankin family also owns True Value hardware stores in King George County and Colonial Beach.

A retailers’ cooperative founded in 1924, Illinois-based Ace Hardware Corp. has more than 5,000 affiliated stores, most independently owned and operated, around the world.

Contact Don Del Rosso at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 540-270-0300.
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