Gina is an entrepreneur who owns 13 Hardware stores in the DC Metro area. Gina ditched the booze years ago, and by a simple twist of fate
became a beacon of light to people in early recovery looking for a fresh start. She tells the story of her journey on this weeks episode!
CEO and Co-Founder, A Few Cool Hardware Stores
Schaefer is Founder and CEO of a chain of Ace Hardware stores located in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, MD, Alexandria, VA, Takoma Park, MD and Silver Spring, MD. She is a passionate entrepreneur who grew her company from one to 13 stores in 18 years and now leads a multimillion-dollar business that employs more than 250 people. She is dedicated to maintaining a strong corporate culture. Schaefer's big passion is for developing urban markets, supporting small businesses and helping women to succeed in all aspects of the hardware industry. She has tirelessly focused on the "Return to Main Street" movement in her own city of Washington, D.C., to promote Shop Local campaigns and community revitalization in urban areas.
Schaefer draws her inspiration from fellow entrepreneurs who strive to be creative, think differently and help make a difference. People like Judy Wicks, founder of the White Dog Cafe in Philadelphia who inspired her to use her voice as a force for good; Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig, founders of gourmet food group Zingerman's Community of Businesses in Michigan, from whom Schaefer learned innovative business strategies and Father Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, who taught her that nonprofit organizations need to think beyond simple charity.
When her busy schedule allows, Schaefer likes to relax by making greeting cards (she's a big believer in the power of the written note), kayaking, taking spin classes, traveling, reading and, of course, mentoring other small business owners.