Everyone’s heard the jingle, “Ace is the place with the helpful hardware folks.”

In Edmonds, Ace offers a lot more than hardware.

Hero ACE Hardware & Grocery is an all-inclusive shopping center of just about anything and everything your heart desires, from artisan cupcakes, deli sandwiches and breakfast burritos made to order, and a mini-supermarket stocked with seasonal goodies for on-the-go snacking, to a department store full of premium brands and services, gardening supplies, dog toys, souvenirs, a new Archie McPhee section of gag gifts, grills, and power tools.

Even auto licensing and notary services.

But wait, there's more!

Every now and then, Hero Ace will collaborate with an organization to put on a community show, party, or BBQ, as it recently did over the Labor Day Weekend. The store hosted Just Frogs Toads Too! Foundation in the parking lot for animal education and encounters, smoked brats, and crafting.

A huge attraction inside has to be the cute, artisan cupcake display from Cakes by Frosted baker Stefanie Buono. The eye-catching cupcakes and minis she puts out are made in-house with love (and all-natural ingredients), in a variety of flavors — red velvet, chocolate and peppermint, caramel, mocha, fudge, vanilla, carrot cake, German chocolate — for a variety of occasions.

One day, customers might see cupcakes with fondant Muppets smiling back at them. Another day, ducks on the water, waiting for crumbs, alongside berry-rich mounds, draped in mosaic buttercream dotted by flecks of floral pink.

An Edmonds graduate, Buono can often be found in Ace’s open kitchen waving at customers and whipping up the day’s goodies, maybe chatting with a customer-turned-friend about the weather and the next, exciting restaurant opening down the street.

“I'm the sole owner/creator/baker of Cakes by Frosted (formerly Frosted Cupcakes & Cakes),” she explained. “I [started] my career in the food industry working for Olives Gourmet Foods in 2001, which, a few years later, turned into Olives Cafe & Wine Bar. [State Representative] Strom Peterson, [wife Maria Montalvo], and Michael Young were the owners of Olives at the time.”

Peterson would later open up the Cheesemonger’s Table — now taken up by Vinbero — with Montalvo in 2012, enjoying a nine-year run before closing on April 2021.

Walk past the open kitchen and deli, and you’ll see a well-decked-out mini-supermarket, with tomatoes, potatoes, bunches of ripe bananas, breads, and dairy products in the refrigerated section.

Dotted throughout are additional snacks not found in the average convenience store, like Van Holten’s Hot Mama spicy pickles, Spindrift sparkling water, Helados Mexico coconut cream Paletas, a treat in the summer, and a cappuccino dispenser.

Ace Hardware’s also the place for bone-deep BBQ, biscuits and gravy, breakfast burritos, chicken strips and Jojos, Crispitos, mac ‘n cheese, fried chicken, and custom sandwiches with choice of bread, veggies, meat, spreads, and cheeses. As of this past spring/summer, the deli's been closed on Saturday due to staffing shortages and we're told they no longer serve BBQ. Check with Ace about availability.

“Yes, we do have a lot here,” a cashier noted, while ringing up a garden hose and a stack of kindling wood.

A regular quipped from the Wine & Spirits section, “It’s my favorite stop on the weekend!”

On the way to pick up radish and green bean seeds, you might get wondrously distracted by the tantalizing sights along the way, shelves filled with bits and bobs you never thought existed in a hardware store — but suddenly have to have.

Absorbent cleaning cloths with the face of a smiling blue cat, koala scrub sponges, a mushroom tool keychain hanging right next to a wood-and-steel, multi-tool plier with seven uses. Cutting boards in the shape of Washington state, etched with delightful landmarks and destinations. 

Oversized salad hands. Colorful slotted spoons, spatulas, and forks crafted from birch wood in Mumbai and Marrakesh styles. Woodstock wind chimes next to a watermelon garden kite and lawn deck chairs, across the aisle from the perfect, definitely-not run-of-the-mill Father’s Day card. Up-cycled Myra Bags in specialty leather, suede, and New Mexican-inspired stitching.

Buckets and bins, mason jars, pots and grills…lost-and-found treasures in the most unlikely of places.

It’s all here, and it’s all uniquely Edmonds.

Images by Matt Hulbert. Additional photography by Carol Banks Weber.