In our monthly Corporate Partner Spotlight, we speak with corporate leaders about what inspires them to serve as advocates and ambassadors for children’s health. This month, we spoke with Craig Smith, co-CEO of A Few Cool Hardware Stores. He has led the Washington, D.C., area’s Ace Hardware store retailer group for the last decade. In addition to leading 13 locations, he is a part-time DJ and loves spinning tunes at his stores.
Craig grew up in Rockville, MD and spent time living in Colorado, New York and California. As a child, he was a patient at Children’s National Hospital for eye surgery. Now he supports the work of the hospital through service and dedication to the local community.
How has Ace Hardware supported Children’s National Hospital?
Ace Hardware has proudly supported Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across the country for over a decade. Locally, we’ve directed funds to Children’s National through campaigns like bucket sales, pine card derby cutting, cupcake decorating, raffle drawings, round-up campaigns and much more. It’s our charity of choice because it directly affects so many local children in need. I’ve always directed my efforts toward supporting the hospital because its mission aligns with our values of engaging with the community and serving others.
Ace also hosts the Miracle Bucket Sale annually the first weekend of August. This year’s event will be August 4-6. Customers can purchase a five-gallon Miracle Bucket for a $5 donation and receive 20% off everything in the store that fits inside the bucket. It’s a great promotion, and our customers love it. Stores are also invited to design and compete in the bucket display contest. Fairfax Ace Hardware won an award last year for our ‘Children’s Cottage.’ The award came with an additional donation to Children’s National from the Ace Foundation. We want to win again this year!
Can you tell us about your new role as co-CEO of A Few Cool Hardware Stores?
My new role at A Few Cool Hardware stores has been a wonderful upgrade for me, both personally and professionally. I was formerly the owner of Fairfax Ace Hardware and joined the company in a recent merger. My new position means lots of activity between 13 stores and new challenges daily, which I really enjoy.
A Few Cool Hardware Stores is employee-owned and offers the best combination of community support and success I’ve ever come across. This is what led me to partner with such a fantastic group of folks.
What lessons have you learned from your time partnering with the hospital?
More than anything, I’ve learned to maintain a realistic mindset on professional issues. I’ll ask myself, “What is a true emergency?” and “What is truly important?” It helps put a shelf without product into perspective against lifesaving support for children who need it most. One visit to the hospital cements that perception.
As a parent, what does it mean to you to support the patients and families of Children’s National?
As a parent of two teenagers, I’m immensely thankful that neither one has ever needed hospital care. Although, I know if the situation arose, we’d be in the best possible place for care at Children’s National.
I’m honored to to serve on such an impactful corporate advisory council and equally gratified to recently commit to another two-year term to support Children’s National patients and their families.