Big John History

The founder and current owner of Big John’s Ace Hardware, LLC is John D. Lindsey. Mr. Lindsey has been a retailer in the lumber, hardware and building materials business since 1968…sort of.

In 1968, Art Lindsey, John’s father purchased Cedaredge Lumber Company, located in Cedaredge, Colorado. That November, at age 9, John assisted Art and the Cedaredge Lumber staff take the first of many annual inventories.

John has continued to be amazed by the changes in the industry since that time. There weren’t computers in every store and pocket in 1968. So for the sake of convenience, each product had a price sticker applied to it. The sticker displayed a retail price for that item. So to do an inventory, you would write down the retail price and the quantity of each item on a piece of paper. The entire store was “Key-stoned”, which meant retail was double the cost; meaning an item that sold for $.50 cost $.25. So once you knew the retail value, you would simply divide it by 2 to determine your cost.

As things progressed and competition increased, it became necessary to “Variable Price” the merchandise. Some non-competitive type items could still carry a key-stone mark-up, but other, more competitive items needed to be marked-up less, but they still needed a way to determine the actual value of inventory, so along came the “Price Code”. The Price Code was a series of letters that appeared on the top of the Price Label. A Price Label was still applied to each product, and still contained the Retail Price, but it now included this series or group of letters at the top. The Price Code that they used was CEDARSTUMP, where C=1, E=2, D=3, A=4… P=0, so if the code on the label was “CTA” its cost would be $1.74. Now to do inventory, they needed to write down the series of letters and the quantity of each product, and write it on a sheet of paper. When a sheet was full, it was taken to the office, where management, using the Top Secret CEDARSTUMP code, determined the cost value. First, they would figure out what the item’s cost was, then they would figure out the cost value by multiplying that cost and the quantity. Next, they would add up all of the cost values to determine the cost value represented on each sheet, and then they would add up all the sheets to figure out the Company’s inventory value. It was a long and tedious process. Makes it a little easier to figure out why a good computer system is so important.

In 1983, John’s dad, Art, made Cedaredge Lumber Co., the first lumberyard in the state of Colorado, to purchase the Triad System. John spent his first year back from college implementing the new Point-of Sale, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, General Ledger, Inventory Control computer system. Each Department, Class, SKU, Primary Vendor, Customer and General Ledger Account had to be created and input, by hand, one character at a time; a long and tedious process. After the Triad System implementation, John continued working and Managing Cedaredge Lumber Company until an opportunity for a new store presented itself in Glenwood Springs, CO, in 1988.

The original Big John’s Building & Home, Inc. was founded in Glenwood Springs in 1988. It was in continuous operation until 2010 at 1210 Devereux Road (site of the old 84 Lumber Company). It was fully automated with Triad Computer Systems (now Epicor) from its inception, and acted as what was referred to as an alpha and beta test site. Mr. Lindsey also served on The Ace/Triad Users Group for 12 years.

Big John’s Building & Home Center lost its lease in 2011 and was forced to close. However, in 2013, while searching for a location to open a Gun / Sporting Goods store, Mr. Lindsey was able to locate a new site at the present location of 2602 South Glen Avenue. Although a completely different and separate Corporation, and not a Sporting Goods store, Big John’s Ace Hardware LLC was founded in 2014.

The original store, Big John’s Building & Home Center, Inc. was opened in 1988 with a primary product line of do-it-yourself hardware and building materials. The current store, Big John’s Ace Hardware, LLC remains in the do-it-yourself market. The original company (Big John’s Building & Home Center, Inc.) opened its doors with $200,000.00 of inventory, increasing to over $1,000,000 of inventory as of the end of fiscal year 2011. The growth of the original store far surpassed initial projections.

The location of the new store takes advantage of the entry/exit for Midland Avenue onto South Glen Avenue. This is an area that, according to 2012 CDOT estimates, sees a daily traffic flow of 36,000 cars commuting back and forth between Glenwood Springs and destinations both up-valley (Aspen, Basalt, El-Jebel, and Carbondale) and down-valley (New Castle, Silt, Rifle, and Parachute/Battlement Mesa).

The Mission Statement of Big John’s has always been to provide the community with the best quality and best selection of hardware at a fair price, and to provide the best quality of customer service available in the valley.

“All we have to do is provide a service to the community in which we live and work. If our service is needed and embraced by this community, the profits will take of themselves.”

J. Lindsey