Household-owned South Tampa ironmongery store palms reins over to Ace {Hardware}, retains pool firm

Changes in the hardware store in South Tampa

Bay to Bay Hardware is currently under renovation to become an Ace Hardware franchise.

A staple in South Tampa since 1947, Bay to Bay Hardware changes hands and becomes an Ace Hardware franchise this summer.

Brothers Eric and Allan Jacobson bought the hardware store in 1972 and strived to bring the best products and experience to every customer.

“The only thing we were proud of was customer service,” said Mike Pisarski, general manager. “Customer service was our strength. That experience brought customers back time and again. We had a one-on-one interview. I knew people by name.”

“I came to the hardware store almost every day,” said customer and small business owner Sam Morgan. “Eric taught me customer service.”

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Morgan fondly recalled his experience with Eric Jacobson: “I think he knew everything … I was trying to find things he didn’t have!”

This dedication to customers helped Bay to Bay Hardware stay in business during the big box store boom.

“We used to be very, very busy until Home Depot came in and started blowing people out of the water,” Pisarski said.

Jacobson took note of this and made changes to stay competitive and continue to offer something the box stores didn’t have.

“We diversified and got into the pool supply business, and that became our niche,” Pisarski recalls.

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As the business grew, so did Jacobson’s family.

“I grew up here, I grew up in this business,” said his daughter Lisa Jacobson, who now owns and operates Bay to Bay Hardware and Pool Supplies.

Morgan remembered growing up in business.

“Eric made Lisa work! She worked here,” he said. “She knew how to do everything from inventory to storage shelves.”

When Eric Jacobson was ready to sell the business, Lisa couldn’t just let her second childhood go home.

“I bought the store from him in 2013,” she said. “For the next two years he taught me the business. He talked to me about customers. He told me about the pool industry.”

As a result, the community hardware store remained in the community.

“The best thing about spending 30 years in one place is that I saw young people come in, have children, grow up their children, get married and have children, that was really interesting,” said Pisarski.

“I’m just grateful that we have had everyone in this community support for so long,” said Lisa Jacobson.

To learn more about Bay to Bay Hardware, including the Tip of the Day, visit the shop’s Facebook page.

Bay to Bay Hardware is located at 4215 W. Bay to Bay Blvd. The full renovation sale of their hardware inventory will take place on June 2nd.

Bay to Bay Pool Supplies will be separate and Lisa Jacobson will continue to operate these behind the hardware store.

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