Yeagers Ace Hardware & Lumber celebrates 60 years of business this year.

What is the key to their success in this day and age? The team at Yeagers credits their longtime managers and team members.

“While we work with three large buying groups to offer low, competitive prices for our customers, at the end of the day our customers keep coming back because they can count on friendly familiar faces who know how to help them,” Deborah Yeager Clark, co-owner, said in a news release. “Many of our employees have been here for 10-plus years and they are like family to us.”

Yeagers Hardware was founded in Van Buren in a 3,600-square foot building at 910 Broadway by Ernest Yeager in 1959.

“My dad always thought it would be neat to have a hardware store,” says son, Ed Yeager, who came to work as the store’s manager in 1966 and in 1981 purchased the store from his father and mother, Frances.

“We didn’t have an intercom, so if we needed something from the back, we just yelled. That’s how small it was,” says Clark who, in addition to being co-owner, is Ed’s daughter.

In 1972, Ernest Yeager purchased his first Ben Franklin store at Eighth & Main and later moved to 14th & East Main, which became a larger Yeagers Hardware. Ed Yeager then opened the second Yeagers Hardware location on Midland Avenue in 1987. It was moved to the current location at 2619 Rogers Ave. in 1990. Two years later, Yeagers opened another location in Fort Smith at 4910 Jenny Lind Road. In 2001, they opened their fourth location at 814 W. Center St. in Greenwood.

From early on, Ed’s daughters, Deborah and Karen, were trained in the retail business.

“We learned to count by doing inventory at the Ben Franklin store,” Deborah recalls.

In 1990, Deborah officially joined the family business and today she oversees the Greenwood and Fort Smith locations. Karen Yeager Windsor oversaw the Rogers Avenue location until she passed away in 2011. Ed is still very involved at the Van Buren location.

As the success of the hardware stores grew, Ed and his wife Shirley, committed to giving back to the community that had been so loyal to their business. In 2008, they donated the land for the Van Buren Public Library in honor of Ed’s mother, Frances.

She was a beloved volunteer reader and field trip assistant to Van Buren elementary students. The Yeagers were also key contributors to the Van Buren Field of Dreams athletic complex. In 2012, the Yeagers donated $100,000 toward the expansion of the Boys & Girls Club in Van Buren, according to the news release. Since Karen's ovarian cancer diagnosis, they Yeagers also have taken an active role in supporting the Arkansas River Valley Ovarian Cancer Coalition.

“We value each customer, many of whom are now friends after so many years,” said Ed. “We strive to give our customers the best possible service, and the best possible price. It is truly a pleasure to have helped so many people for over 60 years.”

Yeagers Hardware carries lumber, building materials, tools, plumbing, electrical, paint, lawn and garden, hardware, housewares and cleaning supplies. They also offer special ordering.

Their hours are the same at each location: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.