After 23 years, Paul Levy is handing over his keys for the ACE Hardware on Main Street to longtime employee and new owner, Lauren Murphy, who credits Levy for playing an incredible role in her life. Over the past 15 years, working side by side, the duo have a lot of memories that they will hold onto as they go their separate ways, Murphy taking on the ownership of the store and Levy spending his retirement on his boat and in his garden.
“Paul has played an incredible role in my life and I owe him an awful lot,” said Murphy, who became a store partner three years ago.
Murphy started working the cash register as a teenager. For these many years, she said that Levy has served as her role model, challenging and teaching her about life inside and outside the store. Describing what Andy Grove, founder of Intel, would call a strategic inflection point in her career, Murphy said “One day we took a little spin around town and Paul very calmly said ‘Lauren, you’re doing a great job but you’re on the wrong side of the road. From that day on Paul challenged me, taught me so much, pushed me and occasionally drove me crazy. But I guess the rest is history because I’m sitting here sharing this response as the owner of my own business, being my own boss, at Woodside Hardware. Paul, I wish you nothing but happiness in the years to come. You’ve worked so hard for so long and certainly deserve to relax.”
The feeling is mutual for Levy, and as he enters a new chapter in his life, he is confident that Murphy is the right person to run the store.
“My goal has always been to run the store as it has been run for nearly 100 years,” said Levy, who bought the store from longtime owner Bob Wheaton. “Lauren has been with me since she was a teenager and during that time, she’s learned every aspect of the business. I feel so lucky to be able to step away and leave Woodside in such great hands, allowing the tradition of top-notch service to live on. It has been a pleasure to watch her grow from a high school cashier to a young businesswoman.”
After he eases into retirement and sticks around the store a little longer to help out, Levy said that what he will miss most is the wonderful, loyal customers that he has grown to know over the years. Murphy is looking forward to getting back to normal after enduring a chaotic year in retail due to the pandemic.
“What I am looking forward to most is keeping my head down and getting back to the basics. I have said it many, many times but we truly have the best customers and the best community surrounding us. I consider our regular customers to be our friends and I am looking forward to continuing to work hard to serve our friends and our community in any way that we can.”