Linda Roark is the current owner of Pete’s Ace Hardware (Pete’s), a fourth-generation family-owned home maintenance business in Castro Valley.  Pete’s was founded by her grandparents in 1926 and Linda has been running the business since 1986.  The business has become a Castro Valley institution on which residents depend for a wide range of products and services.  Read more about the history of Pete’s here.
In 2006, Pete’s instituted Rent-a-Husband to serve the community for  Those Jobs that “Never” Get Done!  Rent-A-Husband is a premier handyman service. The “husbands” are extensively trained, skilled, professional tradesmen who can handle a large array of indoor and outdoor home maintenance and repair.  Linda noted the Pete’s halted the service for a time at the start of the pandemic, but has seen a dramatic in calls as people change their lifestyle and spend more time at home.  Rent-a-Husband handles multiple types of “repair and replace”; hanging mirror and artwork; moving items on a deck or in a room; however, Rent-a-Husband does not go into walls to do electrical or plumbing work.  To learn more about the outstanding services, click here.
Next Linda turned to the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on both Pete’s and its customers.  First and foremost, Linda noted that there is a shortage of product, which upsets customers.  Linda explained that the shortages are due to COVID-19 significantly impacting the production and distribution pipelines.  
Early in the pandemic, some factories shutdown or reduced work schedules, which limited production.  She used the example of furnace filters where the factory has been closed and will not re-open until January.  Linda’s advice is to buy more than just the one that you need right now because when you need the second or third one, they might not be available. 
The distribution chain is another factor in shortage of products.  Since many products are sitting in warehouse and docks due to reduced work shifts or not having sufficient workers/drivers, stores are experiencing a shortage of product.  Much higher-than-normal demand for some products is another cause of shortages.  Linda used the examples soil and canning jars.  With people sheltering in place, they are growing and canning more of their own food.  Even though Pete’s increases it order of soil, the manufacturers could not meet the demands.  (Note:  Dave Sadoff of the CVSan Board thanked Linda for Pete’s support to distribute bags of compost for CVSan.)
Linda noted that Pete’s has reduced hours due to staffing and shared the following tips:
  • Shop earlier in the day.
  • Plan ahead and buy for the future.
  • Understand that things are not the way they were in February.
  • Always wear a mask in stores.
  • Most importantly, be kind and patient to those serving you.  They are doing their best to serve you.
Watch Linda's presentation here.