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Torch passes at Bigari Ace Hardware

At the beginning of 2020, Nick Bigari (left) retired from the hardware business after nearly 45 years with his family’s store, now called Bigari Ace Hardware. He and his late brother Ron sold the business, which was started by their father Ernest in the mid-1970s, to his brother-in-law Tim Novak (right).

IRON RIVER — Through the years, the hardware stores owned by the Bigari family have undergone various transformations. There have been location changes, expansions and the passing of the torch from father to sons.
    On Jan. 1, 2020, another adaptation took place as long-time owner Nick Bigari retired after nearly 45 years in the business and his brother-in-law Tim Novak bought out the business from Nick and his late brother Ron.
    “I was kind of ready,” Nick said recently. “I was just getting tired and sore. And the dynamics changed in the store (relating to technology). And that’s change. It happens every day. Constant.”
    Change has been the name of the game with Bigari Ace Hardware, understandably so. When a business is as successful and enduring as the Bigari hardware stores, it’s natural that such changes occur.
    The Bigari hardware business began in 1975 when Ernest Bigari, Nick and Ron’s father, started the operation in the Riverside Plaza after he owned and operated Bigari Electric for decades. Two years later, Ernest took over the former City Cleaners dry-cleaning shop on Genesee Street and moved his store there.    
    In the early 1980s, the store expanded into the former Loo’s Oldsmobile dealership/garage next door. But as the business kept growing, the need for more space kept returning.
    Eventually, the Bigaris moved their store to its present location on Selden Road in 1992, though there have been expansions at that site as well.
    “It’s been steady,” Nick said of the various expansions. “And then in 2000, we doubled the size of (the Selden Road building).”

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