Skaggs celebrates 100 years in Pratt
Mid-summer of 2021, local business Skaggs Ace Hardware will be celebrating its hundredth year of business. Over these last one hundred years, the Skaggs family has given a lot to the community through both their business and their own personal lives.
In an interview with Tyler Skaggs, the appliance sales manager, he said, “Most of the family members that I know of are all on different boards, school boards and different councils, and different club members throughout the community.”
Tyler also said, “We donate a lot to the school districts: Pratt Community College, Skyline and then Pratt USD. We help out when we can.”
Bill Skaggs, the owner of Skaggs Ace Hardware, added onto that and said, “We’ve been heavily involved over the years in the Lions Club, the Rotary Club, P.E.O., school boards, the city council, all the civic clubs, and the rec department. We give back what we can.”
The Skaggs family business has been in the family for three generations, with the fourth generation working his way up through the business.
Skaggs Ace Hardware has strong customer service which could only be found in a small town. When asked what is unique about the business, Bill said, “The major uniqueness to our business has always been our customer service ... People come to us because we talk to them.”
The people working in the store are all overall good quality people. When asked what his favorite part of working for Skaggs Ace Hardware was, Tyler said, “The people who I work with are really nice. They are super smart people as far as hardware goes, and much more than just hardware. There are definitely very smart people here, and it is a really nice workplace, easy to get along with.”
The Skaggs family business is three different businesses all under the ownership of the Skaggs family. The businesses are made up of Ace Hardware, a small engine mechanics shop and an appliance and furniture store.
Bill said, “This has been our hundredth year on Pratt’s Main Street and the challenge has always been competition.” A more recent challenge which the business has had to adapt to has been the pandemic. Due to being an essential business, Skaggs Ace Hardware did not have to shut down during the lockdown. In fact, they had record sales in anything dealing with home improvement during the lockdown, but the supply chains have been crippled due to the pandemic.
When talking about the after-effects of the pandemic on the business, Tyler said, “Not getting my supplies has definitely been a major challenge for me.” The business is receiving around 60% of what they normally order.
In the beginning of the lockdown, all vulnerable employees were sent home for 30 days, which put more pressure on the employees under 65 years old. There have been many added precautions taken since then in order to keep all employees and customers safe. While talking about the virus’s impact on the business and employees, Bill said, “The masks, cleaning, the extra added workload has helped a lot, yet we still had lots of our staff contract the virus. Most of them who have contracted it got it through a social source. Here in the store we have been very healthy for the most part.”
One employee did pass away due to the virus. The employee had been working for Skaggs for 25 years. “The biggest challenge that we faced was losing a long-time close friend and employee; it is still a challenge to this day for us. You just don’t expect that,” said Bill talking about their loss.
Skaggs Ace Hardware can be contacted at 800-672-6760, or can be visited at 101 S Main in Pratt. As Tyler said, “Everybody’s friends and family here. We recognize everybody, and we are always happy to see you and just enjoy having you come in and visit our store.”