Michael Wynn: Sunshine Ace grows with Southwest Florida

In 1958, Naples was a small, sleepy fishing village. It was far from the hustle and bustle of city life, both in terms of distance and lifestyle.

That year, my grandfather, Don Wynn, converted a Western Auto Parts store on Fifth Avenue South into a full-service hardware store. Sunshine Ace Hardware was born.

For years, Collier and Lee County residents drove on dirt, gravel and paved roads to reach the store. It took some customers upwards of an hour, but the drive was worth it. Sunshine Ace offered “small town advantages” like friendly service and strong core values, such as caring for neighbors and building honest relationships. It also offered “big city” advantages like a large inventory of products at competitive prices.

To better serve Southwest Florida, Sunshine Ace opened a second store. Then another. Then another.

Today, Sunshine Ace has grown to include nine hardware locations in Collier, Lee, Charlotte and Pinellas counties, as well as a commercial paint store in Naples, two Crowder Bros. Ace Hardware stores in Manatee County and two Crowder’s Gifts & Gadgets shops in Manatee County.

Sunshine Ace is one of the nation’s largest Ace Hardware retailers, and we’re growing again. Recently, we announced plans to open a new store in North Naples at Founders Square, a mixed-use development on Immokalee Road east of I-75. Although the corridor already has thousands of homes, restaurants, retail shops and commercial businesses, it didn’t have one particular type of business – a full-service hardware store.

Eastern Collier County is booming, and Founders Square will be a hub of activity. The development will include restaurants, retail shops, medical offices and luxury residences.

As a business leader, you never quite know how the community will react to announcing a new store. Our team was overwhelming by the enthusiastic response, especially some of the comments on social media:

  • “That store will be a home run for sure.”
  • “Fantastic news about the growth of a terrific business.”
  • “Thanks so much!! It’s so needed out here!!”

The new store will exceed 20,000 square feet and offer commercial paint, grilling and fishing departments, as well as a wide selection of power and hand tools, hardware, lawn and garden supplies, plumbing fixtures, outdoor living accessories and gifts. Groundbreaking is expected later this year, with completion in mid-2022.

To thrive, every business needs a competitive advantage. For Sunshine Ace, this is our people and the culture of friendly service they provide. Although our stores offer a large selection of quality products at great prices, as well as the convenience of online shopping and curbside pickup, our friendly associates are the reason that customers become regulars at Sunshine Ace. Our “red-vested heroes” and their expert advice are never more than an aisle away. And soon, they won’t be more than a few minutes away for residents and businesses in North Naples.

– By Michael Wynn, President of Sunshine Ace Hardware