Libertyville Ace Hardware manager Paul LaRoche honored for 50 years of service

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For 50 years, the Libertyville Ace Hardware store has been the property of Paul LaRoche, who was honored Friday for his lack of space.

Instead, it was 50 years ago until the day a 17-year-old high school principal at the time reported the same store on Peterson Road west of Milwaukee Avenue as part of a job release program.

LaRoche laughed that he was not in trouble. Instead, the Chicago transplant received enough tuition fees to be released early from Libertyville High School to work.

He worked every afternoon afternoon for $ 1.40 an hour and never left, making work as a “hardware assistant.” In doing so, she became a team person and a caregiver for the source of household needs, advice and relationships.

“Helping people is my whole thing. It’s not difficult. It’s fun, it really is,” he told relatives, friends, co-workers, long-term clients and well-wishers.

LaRoche received the Estwing Golden Hammer Award, a hardware industry recognition given to those reaching 50 years of service, which is a common occurrence.

The event was organized by Brenda Warning, her assistant for 36 years.

“Not a day goes by that a client doesn’t ask about Paul or seek to ask him a question,” he said. “It has definitely touched my life and the lives of many people who have passed through our door.”


Paul LaRoche, who wore the red sport jacket, was presented Friday with the Estwing Golden Hammer Award for 50 years of service in the hardware industry, all at Libertyville Ace Hardware.
– Mick Zawislak | Work Artist

Paul Swatek, general manager of Ace Hardware Corp., said he had applied for five Golden Hammers during his 38 years with the company. There are 4,800 stores with Ace stores in the US and 5,600 worldwide.

Christine Doucet, executive director of Ace Foundation and staff participation, presented LaRoche with the “You Rock” award for her enthusiasm and participation in the community. A $ 10,000 check in LaRoche’s name was also donated to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.

“We meet a lot of people,” he said, “but not as many as Paul.”

Libertyville Ace Hardware itself is a constant study, having only two families since it was launched in 1955 by the Hesse family. Richard Hesse was one of a number of hardware owners who in 1924 merged their stores in Chicago into “Ace Stores” to increase purchasing power.

The Libertyville store reopened the city and relocated to its present location on Peterson Road in 1964. The Hesse family, LaRoche said, welcomed him as a son, showed him the ropes and encouraged him along the way.


Libertyville Ace Hardware Director Paul LaRoche, right, with members of the Hesse family, owners of the first store, in 1984. LaRoche celebrated its 50th anniversary at the Libertyville store on Friday.

Libertyville Ace Hardware Director Paul LaRoche, right, with members of the Hesse family, owners of the first store, in 1984. LaRoche celebrated its 50th anniversary at the Libertyville store on Friday.
– Courtesy of Ace Hardware

LaRoche was part of the package when the Libertyville store was sold to the Laskowski family in 1990. The Laskowski family owns eight Ace stores in Lake County and one in McHenry County.

“This guy right now, it’s Ace’s face,” said Rich Laskowski Jr. owner. “He’s an helpful Ace and he knows everyone.”

Under his rule, LaRoche worked on the fundraisers of Ana’s Miracle Network, won the Presidents Cup along with Warning, and has been selling Memorial Day tents for 30 years.

Mayor Donna Johnson was one of those who spoke at the event and gave LaRoche a village announcement.


Libertyville Ace Hardware CEO Paul LaRoche and assistant director Brenda Warning approves the Ace Presidents Cup award for special marketing in 1999. LaRoche was honored Friday for 50 years of service at the store.

Libertyville Ace Hardware CEO Paul LaRoche and assistant director Brenda Warning approves the Ace Presidents Cup award for special marketing in 1999. LaRoche was honored Friday for 50 years of service at the store.
– Courtesy of Ace Hardware

“They don’t meet strangers,” he said. “What gives people a foundation is what they love and Paul gives an example of what we appreciate.”

LaRoche is still paired with a 44-year-old red sport jacket that is worn by Ace staff as they greet customers at the door. It may be half a year but it will not rest soon.

“I’m planning a visit,” he said. “Certainly.”

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