When Doug Cunningham walked into the Gretna Ace Hardware store, he expected to buy a tool to fix his leaf blower and be on his way. Instead, he met a young man who restored his faith in customer service.
"The cord pulled out of my leaf blower," said Cunningham. "I needed a special screwdriver to take it apart. I went to Ace Hardware in Gretna, and Andrew helped me find what I needed. Being very non-mechanical, I asked him for some advice." Not only did Andrew offer advice, but he ended up fixing Cunningham's leaf blower. "He said, 'we're not busy, let me help you,'" Cunningham explained. "I tried to offer him payment, but he wouldn't except it. He just said, 'that's what we do here.'"
"It just struck me as a special incident. Unbelievable," said Cunningham. He was so impressed by Andrew and his customer service, that he posted his experience on Nextdoor, something he doesn't normally do. The post has received 125 likes and 15 comments. "The employees at the Gretna Ace are always so helpful-Glad to have such a great business in Gretna-keep up the great customer service-it is noticed!" read one comment.
The young man that helped Cunningham is Andrew Nelson, a senior at Gretna High School. "I was surprised to hear about the post. My friend's mom saw it, and texted it to me," said Nelson. "It was really refreshing to see, and made me proud," added store manager John Gostanzik.
Several people said that they've had similar experiences at Gretna Ace Hardware. "I've also had great customer service experiences at Ace in Gretna. Can't say enough good things about the staff," commented Richard Wiese on Nextdoor. "I think it helps that we are a small store," said Gostanzik. "We train our employees that customers are always #1. It also helps that several of our high school students have taken shop class or mechanical classes. They have a passion for what they are doing."
Nelson learned how to fix things in the shop/small engine classes he has taken at Gretna High. He is currently taking dual credit classes in welding at Metro Community College. He hopes to have a career in welding in the Gretna/Omaha area after he finishes college.
Jean King, a teacher in Gretna, commented, "It's so encouraging to hear how these young people are becoming such amazing citizens in the community. We need to keep sharing the good things that so many people are doing!" It is no doubt that Nelson has a very bright future indeed. Thank you, Andrew, and the rest of the employees at Ace, for being Gretna's "helpful hardware folks!"