Growing up, Adam Ziegler worked as a caddie at the Elgin Country Club, outside of the Ace Hardware stores that bear his family’s name.
After going to college at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Ziegler worked eight years in Texas for two businesses: KPMG, an accounting and auditing firm, and Alcon Laboratories, in its financial statements department.
“It was always important to me to get experience outside of the hardware business,” Ziegler said.
For Ziegler however, returning to the Ziegler’s Ace Hardware chain based in the Fox Valley was always in the plans. This summer, he returned to Elgin to handle the accounting and finances for the nine Ace Hardware stores with the Ziegler name, which includes locations in Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills, Huntley and Cary. Ziegler’s Ace Hardware has 150 employees at the nine locations.
“I always knew I would be back, so it’s good to experience other things,” Ziegler said.
When Ziegler was growing up, however, he would accompany his father, David, on Saturdays to rounds at the different stores. While still a youngster, Adam would see his grandfather and his father working in the stores.
Adam Ziegler is the fourth generation of Zieglers to work for the Ace Hardware chain.
Adam’s great-grandfather, Lyle Ziegler, purchased Meehan’s Hardware store in downtown Elgin in 1930. Lyle then joined Ace in 1934. Lyle’s sons, James and Gregg Ziegler, bought the store from their father in the 1950s. In the 1980s, James’ son David and Gregg’s son Brian took over the business.
Today David Ziegler is chairman of the Ace Hardware board.
This summer, Adam Ziegler, 31, replaced an employee who retired after being with the company for 40 years. The longevity is a common occurrence; as there are managers who have been with the chain for 25 years.
During the day, Adam and his father can sit in the same office David used to sit in and talk business.
“I grew up with it first of all,” Adam Ziegler said. “It’s something I’ve known my whole life.”
He is learning more than just the financial aspect of the nine Ziegler stores.
He’s getting involved in the other operations and systems the company has such as the point-of-sale system and the ledger system.
“No two days are alike,” Adam Ziegler said.
Right now Adam doesn’t have a fifth generation lined up, but wouldn’t mind if the family legacy continued.
“If a fifth generation comes, it would be neat,” Adam Ziegler said. “It’s rewarding to be a part of this business. It provides for our family and our employees.”
What: A family-owned group of nine Ace Hardware stores
Locations: Downtown Elgin, westside Elgin, South Elgin, Carol Stream, Huntley, Lake in the Hills, Carpentersville, Crystal Lake and Cary
Phone number: 847-741-8330