About Rylee's Ace Hardware
Rylee's Ace Hardware History
The “Ace Hardware” name originated from the Ace Hardware Corporation - a buying group started in 1924 by four independent Chicago Area retailers. These four retailers made a decision that they could be more productive and competitive working together rather than separately. Today, Ace Hardware Corporation, headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois, is an international retail support company. Ace provides over $3 billion in wholesale and retail merchandise annually and has approximately 4,600 locations worldwide.
In 1946, John Rysdyk Sr. and Ed Leedy purchased a small hardware store called Firliks, located at the corner of Eastern Avenue and Michigan Street NE. They combined the names of Rysdyk and Leedy to form what is now known as Rylee’s Ace Hardware.
In 1953, the two partners began an ambitious expansion program by building a new store at the current location, near the corner of Michigan Street and Fuller Ave NE.
When the present building was complete and opened in 1955, Rylee’s Hardware became the largest hardware store in Grand Rapids. According to news reports at the time, “never before has anyone combined electrical, plumbing, tools, toys, sporting goods, paint, marine equipment, housewares, auto, lawn and garden, and hardware departments under one roof.”
Rylee’s became a franchise of Ace Hardware Corporation in 1958, and has been known as Rylee’s Ace Hardware since that time. In April of 1995, Todd and Lori Terpstra purchased an existing hardware store named Alger Ace Hardware. In February 2000, Todd and Lori Terpstra purchased Rylee’s Ace Hardware on Michigan St. from Lori’s parents, John and Grace Rysdyk. In July 2002, Todd and Lori Terpstra purchased two existing Ace hardware stores, one in Wyoming, Michigan and one in Walker, Michigan from long time owner Gary Larson. At the same time, Alger Ace Hardware was combined into the Wyoming location.
Today, all four Rylee’s Ace locations are currently owned and operated by the third generation of the original Rysdyk family.