Ridge Avenue hardware store ’embodies’ local business

We’ve all been there: Wandering around big-box hardware store looking for that little mystery part that’s going to keep the sink from squirting water everywhere or the window from letting in a draft.

You walk up and down the wide aisles hoping that divine intervention will bring you to the right destination or better yet, that someone in a uniform will ask if you need assistance. It’s always a gamble, and your chances slim to none.

A friendly face

But at Stanley’s Hardware in Roxborough, you don’t have to play your cards. You know you will be greeted, sometimes by name, the moment you walk through the door. Often, it’s by customer favorite, Ernie Iovannone, who has been working at the third-generation family-owned store for 20 years.

Assistant manager Iovannone grew up in the Overbrook section of Philadelphia, where he still lives today. The oldest of three boys, his determined work ethic started early — before he was in high school he was already running a paper route and helping with repairs and maintenance at his local church.

So when his uncle, Mark Jaconski, who co-owns Stanley’s, asked Iovannone if he wanted a job, he jumped at the chance.

Job satisfaction

“I started out stocking shelves,” Iovannone said. “Eventually I started helping out with customers and I haven’t stopped since… I love working with tools and home improvement. It’s a fun business being able to help people solve problems on their own.”

But it’s not just the tools and home projects that keep Ernie satisfied with his job.

“I like dealing with people,” he said. “The problems and projects that come into the store may be different every day, but there’s one thing that’s always the same — that I have the chance of making a person leave the store happy.”

And for all the admiration Ernie has for his customers, they have just as much in turn. He is a known customer and staff favorite.

The customer experience

Vaughan Piccolo grew up in Roxborough. A newlywed, he and his wife recently purchased a house in Wissahickon, and have made many trips to Stanley’s as they settle into their new home.

“I shop at Stanley’s because I want to support a local business that I am proud to have in my neighborhood,” Piccolo noted.

“Stanley’s offers more convenience than Home Depot and Lowe’s because it is so close to home and does so with a staff that is much more knowledgeable and willing to offer assistance. This is why Ernie in particular resonates with the clientele: he is always extremely eager to help, and in every case for me thus far, has been able to.”

Keeping it local

Piccolo, who is also a member of the Wissahickon Interested Citizens Association added, “We [WICA], along with the Roxborough Civics, are always ardently pushing for viable businesses to come to Ridge Avenue to bolster the amount of amenities that we can offer to young professionals looking to move into the area. Stanley’s embodies this perfectly.”

The hardware store first opened in 1940 as a small mom and pop shop on Terrace Street. Over the years, they have moved and expanded to satisfy the needs of their clientele, their most recent expansion being completed just last year.

“If I am ever going to be known for something, I want to be known for being honest and genuine,” Iovannone said. “I would like to be known for treating others how I would want to be treated — with dignity and respect.”

Stanley’s is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturdays 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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