Case Study:
Paul's Ace Hardware

Company Profile

Paul’s ACE Hardware, an independently–owned and operated ACE retailer with 130 employees, is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona. Company founder Paul E. Dauwalder established his first hardware store in downtown Scottsdale in 1956. Paul and his son Don opened a second location in 1973 in Fountain, Arizona.

Eventually Don took over the business and managed the company’s expansion to three additional stores. Don retired in late 2008; his daughter Julie Buchkowski now serves as president of Paul’s ACE Hardware, and his daughter Tricia Dauwalder–Luna manages the company’s Internet marketing and ordering. A family–owned business for three generations, Paul’s ACE Hardware has stayed true to its mission of providing solutions to its customers, community, and associates with honesty and integrity.


The start of 2012 marked an exciting change for the Scottsdale store of Paul’s ACE Hardware. After 20 years at a leased building, the company purchased a building and opened at its new location—literally down the street from its old—in January.

When Buchkowski first started exploring the possibility of purchasing a building, knowing that her 20–year lease would be expiring, she assumed she would secure a loan and financing through her bank of record. When things didn’t come together the way she hoped they would, one of her contractors suggested she contact Alerus Bank & Trust.

“Alerus put together a great proposal that was very close to what our existing bank was offering,” says Buchkowski. “Given that we were happy with our current bank and that all terms were relatively equal, we decided we didn’t want to go through the effort of changing banks.”

Buchkowski says that Seth Philbin, a commercial banker at Alerus Bank & Trust, as well as the entire Alerus team were very gracious, thanked her for the opportunity, and asked to be her “first second choice.”


Buchkowski reached out to Philbin again when things weren’t working out with her current bank as she tried to finalize her loan and financing.

“Our bank was hit by economic changes, and the terms of the original proposal changed,” she says. “Alerus was in a much better lending position, and we decided to let them be our first second choice.”

Buchkowski says that Philbin and the Alerus team “are fantastic to work with,” noting that they’ve taken the time to learn about and understand her company’s needs. “They do a great job listening to our needs and guiding us to where we need to go.”

On a personal banking note, Buchkowski says that she, on a whim, asked about re–financing her house. “They were back to me in 10 minutes with a great offer. I was wowed, and we refinanced through Alerus.”

For Buchkowski, the adage “it’s all about relationships” is a cornerstone to her business. “We thrive on long–term relationships. We’re not prone to switching things up too terribly often. We’re very pleased with Alerus, and we’re excited to see our relationship go long–term.”




Paul's Ace Hardware
Phoenix, Artizona

Business Type


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