Steamboat Ace Hardware manager pedals to retirement
Steamboat Springs — On Tuesday afternoon, it was very clear that Scott Schlapkohl will be missed by the Steamboat Springs Ace Hardware community.
“It’s going to be hard to see him go,” said Dale Cross, who drove down from North Routt County to wish the general manager the best during his retirement party. “He’s always been helpful.”
Steve Dawes, who has known Schlapkohl for 40 years, said it was fun to see his 63-year-old friend earn a retirement after working at the hardware store for 30 years.
“He’s honest, caring and community minded,” Dawes said. “It was never just a job for him. He’ll be missed.”
The hardware store on Curve Plaza is more than just nuts and bolts — it is a place where people learn how to fix their problems from a friendly staff of longtime employees.
“This is a great group of people here,” Dawes said. “It’s local.”
Schlapkohl said that is what he is going to miss the most.
“I was coming to work for a family, and that’s what this place is,” Schlapkohl said. “It’s a family of employees and a family of customers, too.”
Schlapkohl said working at the store and becoming a co-owner has been an exciting and incredible experience, especially given that he never envisioned himself working at the same place for so long. He was hired by Dennis and Wayne Swanson after responding to an ad in the newspaper for what was then a True Value store.
Schlapkohl said he hit it off with the Swansons right away.
“The family has treated me so well and gave me a lifestyle and life that I couldn’t have imagined.”
Dennis Swanson said Schlapkohl helped set the store up for continued success.
“We’re going to miss him a lot,” Swanson said. “Just a great guy to work with and a great person.”
Bridget Jacquart and Dennis’ son, Marc Swanson, now will be running the store.
Schlapkohl said he did not have any specific plans for retirement.
“I kind of think we’ll see where life takes me,” Schlapkohl said.
In the coming weeks, that means a trip to Florida with his wife, Lola, who works as an accountant. After that, it will be back to life in Steamboat.
“My wife told me I’ll be doing the grocery buying and the cooking,” Schlapkohl said.
Schlapkohl, who was wearing an Ace Hardware bike jersey Tuesday, also will continue to spend a lot of time on his road bike. This past year, he said he logged more than 8,000 miles.
“That certainly won’t go down as long as I stay healthy,” Schlapkohl said.
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