The Paper photo by Frank Phillips. <br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Jack Stevenson and Skylar Stevenson stand in front of a display of Craftsman tools. The Crawfordsville Sears store will be moved inside Stevenson's Ace Hardware.
The Paper photo by Frank Phillips.

Jack Stevenson and Skylar Stevenson stand in front of a display of Craftsman tools. The Crawfordsville Sears store will be moved inside Stevenson's Ace Hardware.
The Crawfordsville Sears Hometown store will soon be moving down the road and into Stevenson's Ace Hardware.

On Friday, Jack Stevenson and his son, Skylar, were clearing out a large space in the middle of the store to house the inventory from the current Sears Hometown franchise store which is also located on U.S. 231 S.

"It's never been done before," Jack said Friday morning. "It'll be the first time in the country, in the nation, that they've ever put a Sears and an Ace together. We're very excited two big corporations are looking at us."

Sears Hometown District Manager Sky Batley said his company is "excited" about the new relationship as well. Batley pointed out that Sears Hometown is a different company than the Sears stores many people have known for decades, even though they carry many of the same brand items, such as Craftsman.

For the past three years, Stevenson's has sold some Craftsman products. The store was one of just 20 stores around the nation to participate in the test marketing, Skylar said.

In January, Skylar began calling the Sears Hometown district office and asked for a meeting to talk about expanding the Sears line inside Stevenson's.

It took several tries but eventually Skylar's enthusiasm overcame the Sears Hometown district manager's reticence and a meeting was arranged.

When Skylar learned Jane and Paul Leckrone planned to sell the Sears Hometown franchise, Skylar talked his dad into buying the franchise.

Eventually, both Sears Hometown and Ace Hardware district offices approved the sale.

The Stevensons will take over Sears Hometown on May 18, Jane Leckrone said.

Stevenson's employees will begin moving the fixtures and inventory to the Ace Hardware store on May 19, Jack said.

"The cool thing is we've never been able to get the full line of Craftsman through our store," Skylar said. "With Sears, we'll be the sole location in town to go for Craftsman."

Stevensons will offer appliances and lawn and garden equipment in the store but they will be able to get anything Sears offers through Sears.com, Batley said.

Jane said the couple is planning to retire.

"We want to express appreciation to the Leckrones for their service through the store for so many years," Batley said.

The Leckrones have owned the store for 10 years, Jane said.

Jack would not disclose the terms of the sale other than to say Stevensons entered into a five-year contract and will offer delivery and all the services now offered in Crawfordsville. All Sears Hometown local employees will keep their jobs, Jack said.

Stevensons bought the store at the current location 14 years ago when it was known as Pool's.