Family has always been key to the success of Marczak’s hardware store in Lac La Biche. When Joe and Amelia Leibel purchased Lac La Biche’s Mcleods Hardware franchise in 1960, little did they know that they would set the framework for a family business that would still be in place for more than 60 years.
In 1972, Leibel’s daughter and son-in-law, Bruno and Helen Marczak, took over the business, and an eight-year-old Tony and his three sisters started working at the store doing odd jobs wherever and whenever they could. In 1995, Tony and his wife Kathy purchased the business from their parents, and this year, their daughters, Naomi and Kaitlin have assumed ownership of the store.
While the store has been in its current location for more than 50 years, it has undergone multiple name changes. Mcleods Hardware evolved to True Value in 1992, then Tru Hardware in 2010. Since 2015 the store, is known as Marczak’s Ace Hardware and is currently affiliated with PeavyMart Industries.
Tony Marczak has seen many changes over the years, from the types of products consumers want to the kinds of technology used to order and sell merchandise. No matter the technology, Tony stresses the importance of keeping the shelves well stocked. “Customers want to see a full store with an excellent selection. Years ago, every customer expected help. Today, customers like to look around and then ask for assistance.”
Although some things have changed over the years, Marczak’s commitment to customer service continues to be their number one priority. “Friendliness and availability are key to building long-term customer relationships,” says Tony. “It takes a long time to earn the business of a customer and about two minutes to lose it.
Few businesses in Canada can boast four generations of family ownership and five generations of customer service, with Tony and Kathy’s young grandchildren getting their feet wet in the business as well. Tony proudly points out that Bruno, his father, still comes in every morning to make sure all is up and running.
Ace Hardware is open 8 AM to 6 PM Monday through Friday and 8 AM to 5 PM on Saturday.
You can also shop locally and online at the same time through their website. Visit www.ace-canada.ca/ (and choose Lac La Biche as your preferred store).