CULLMAN, Ala. – For many years customers have seen the familiar faces of Rob, Mary Ellen and Ola Werner as they walk in the door of Werner’s Trading Company in Cullman. The Werners have taken the store from its roots as a hardware store to what customers know today. Britt and Laura Wood, owners of Ace of the South in Gardendale, will purchase Werner’s and take over sometime this fall.
At first, you will notice little change. The Woods have plans to refresh the building inside and out. They plan to keep a lot of the brands Werner’s currently sells but also add new brands. With space limitations, they will not be selling bicycles, parts and accessories, and they are removing the wine/beer room. They have plans to fill this space with new outdoor clothing, new lines of shoes and camping gear.
“To me, what attracted us to Werner’s is its uniqueness, just like our store in Gardendale. We sell the same or similar items and felt this was a great way to enter the Cullman market. Rob and Mary Ellen have a great customer base, and we get to take advantage of their history in the community and north Alabama,” said Britt Wood. “What we are able to tell you today may generate more questions than answers, but give us a few weeks and we will be able to share more of our plans for Cullman.”
The Woods’ Ace of the South in Gardendale currently holds the title of the “Coolest Hardware Store.” Only two Ace stores hold this title each year out of 5,500 stores nationwide. They would like to receive this award again for the new Cullman store. The Woods’ plan includes adding a new 9,100-square-foot building on the northeast side of the property to house an Ace Hardware store.
“Ace of the South is really a cross between a hardware store and an outdoor store,” said Laura Wood. “We have everything you will need as far as hardware, plumbing, electrical and paint but will also have gardening supplies. If you are looking for sunglasses, apparel and locally made gifts, we will be carrying these items as well.”
“We are excited to have found a buyer with plans to keep Werner’s the same store the community has grown to love and support,” said Rob Werner. “We have been a staple in the community for over 80 years, 51 years for me, and we are excited the Woods have plans to keep the tradition going.”
Werner’s Trading Company, a family tradition, began in 1951. Robert Werner started in the army surplus business in the town of Cullman, Alabama. The business evolved from army surplus and a hardware store to general merchandise. Now it is known as a gathering place where families browse and friends meet. Its product diversity is, and always has been, its calling card.