History of the 3 Stores in the ‘Forsyth Hardware’ Family
In 1918, Joe Boling and C. G. Bettis started a small country store less than a half mile north of the current store we call ‘Midway Ace Hardware’ in a small one bedroom house and named it Boling & Bettis General Store. Thirty years later, in 1948, Everett Bettis bought out his father C.G. Bettis.
In 1951, Everett and Joe built an 1800 square foot building across the street from the original store where they added gas pumps and a mill to grind wheat for flour and corn for corn meal. Everett and Joe were partners until late fifties when Everett purchased Joe Boling's share and renamed the store ‘Everett Bettis General Merchandise.’
Everett added an additional 4000 square feet to the store in 1960 to make it the first "buggy pushing" supermarket in Forsyth County. It was a thriving country store for several years where local residents could purchase groceries, hardware, building supplies, farm supplies, clothing, toys and gas.
Jerry Wood came to work for Everett in 1972 to manage the hardware side of the business. At the time, Beck & Gregg Hardware was the main supplier for the business until Jerry convinced Mr. Bettis to join Ace in 1974. Everett retired in 1979 and sold the building supply portion of the business to Ruell Bettis and it became ‘Midway Building Supply.’
Then, in December 1979, a deal was struck between Everett and Jerry at a kitchen table for Jerry to purchase the hardware portion of the store. Mr. Bettis was a co-signer with Jerry on the application to Ace Hardware for store number 5993A and ‘Wood Ace Hardware’ opened January 2nd, 1980.The original employees were Jerry Wood, Billy Dixon, Dorothy Brannon, Charlie Stowe and Ralph Bennett. Ralph Bennett was the father of our current Controller, Terry Bennett, and Ralph worked at the store until his passing in 1996. Billy Dixon retired in 2012.
Wood Ace Hardware moved on October 5th, 1984 to a new building at 4947 Hwy 9. A small engine shop was added in 1986 and other additions were made in succeeding years. In 1996 Wood Ace purchased Sibley-Roper Ace Hardware at 2000 Canton Hwy to add a second store to the family. And then, in 1999 Jerry Wood built a 24,000 square foot building at 4715 Hammond Industrial Drive to open a third store.
On February 5th, 2001 the three stores that comprised Wood Ace Hardware were sold to Lucien Kimball. At the time Wood Ace had 52 employees and did $7M in sales between the 3 stores. Lucien owned and operated the three stores at Midway, Hammond, and Highway 20 until he sold to the Rees Family after a few years.
Then, starting in 2008, the recession and other factors pulled the stores down, and all three began to experience their toughest run yet. As the stores deteriorated, long time members of the community began to worry about losing the stores that they had counted on for decades. The stores eventually filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection from creditors in the summer of 2014. For several weeks, the future survival of the 3 stores was far from certain.
Then, local resident Darin Workman teamed with an investor and entrepreneur in Nashville, TN named Steve Curnutte. Together, they purchased the stores from the Federal Court in an effort to save the businesses and the more than 20 jobs they provided. Jerry Wood, who still maintained ownership of the three properties, jumped in to help as well. The stores got a face lift inside and out. Darin and his team set about a complete overhaul of the inventory – and all three stores reopened in October as ‘Forsyth Hardware.’ The dramatic improvements at the stores brought a great outpouring of support from Forsyth County residents.
At Forsyth Hardware, we are extremely proud to be part of a tradition that dates back nearly 100 years. Today, we are stronger than ever. Our roots in the community are deep and our commitment to Forsyth County is strong. Thank you for your patronage over the years, thank you for your continued support, and thank you for making us your neighborhood Hardware Store of choice!