Proctor ACE Hardware
Proctor ACE Hardware began on First Street in Jacksonville Beach in 1936 as Dickinson Hardware. In 1945, Ethan Proctor and Howard Prather, his brother-in-law, bought the company. The store was renamed Proctor-Prather Hardware. In 1947, Ethan Proctor purchased his brother-in-law's half interest in the company, renaming the store to Proctor's Hardware. Ethan's wife, Bertha, also worked in the store.
After the end of World War II, Ethan's son, Jack, graduated from Georgia Tech and joined the company. Jack's wife, Betty Lee, joined the company in the mid 1950's. In the spring of 1955, the store was moved from First Street to its own building on the corner of Second Street and Second Avenue North. The business continued to grow during the 50's and 60's. In 1964, Ethan and Jack became affiliated with ACE Hardware. Renamed to Proctor ACE Hardware, the company grew fast and necessitated moving the store to the corner of Third Street and Fifth Avenue North.
The Grand Opening of the new, Third Street store was in the spring of 1973. Another major expansion was accomplished in the spring of 1975: A second location opened on University Boulevard West near I-95 on Jacksonville's Southside.
Today, Proctor ACE Hardware's growth continues. The Neptune Beach location recently moved to a brand-new store just a few blocks west on Atlantic Boulevard, next to Winn-Dixie. The up-to-date store provides all the services and products of the Neptune Beach Plaza store, plus an expanded garden department.
Steve and Joe Proctor, sons of Jack and Betty Lee Proctor, manage the business together with Lizz Proctor serving as secretary and treasurer. Each has worked in various sales and management positions. Currently, Steve Proctor is President of the corporation and manages store operations. Joe is Vice President, managing inventory and advertising, and Lizz is the CFO. Betty Lee Proctor is still involved, serving as Chairman and CEO. Other family members in the business are Joey Proctor as store manager, Tommy Proctor as IT manager, in addition to Carson, Zachery and Caelen Proctor.