Ace Hardware LB840 funds

The Blair City Council approved $40,000 in LB 840 funds for Sterling Ambitions LLC, which owns Ace Hardware in Blair. The owners plan to expand in the area, which had previously housed a Blair dance studio.

A Blair hardware store has been approved for LB 840 funds to expand its business.

The Blair City Council approved $40,000 for Cathy and Stephen LeGrand, doing business as Sterling Ambitions LLC to expand the 12,000-square-foot Ace Hardware store at 114 S. 8th St., in the Blair Plaza strip mall.

The Local Option Municipal Economic Development Act (LB 840) authorizes incorporated cities and villages to collect and appropriate local tax dollars through sales and/or property tax for economic development purposes. Blair residents voted in 2006 to allow the city to use LB 840.

Ace Hardware will expand by about 2,400 square feet, which includes warehouse space, and take over the area previously occupied by a dance studio, which is moving to another location. The LeGrands plan to add three full-time employees — for a total of 10 — and up to five seasonal employees.

Stephen LeGrand said the store was running out of space.

“It's getting jam packed in there,” he told the council. “More and more is being requested of us every single day and we want to provide that.”

LeGrand said the expansion could also help the city.

“I want to keep more sales tax dollars in the city. Too often I'm hearing, 'Well, I'll go into Omaha,'” he said.

LeGrand said he is hopeful the expansion will equal an additional $400,000 in revenue.

Ace Hardware opened in 2017. In late 2016, the LeGrands received $50,000 in Community Development Block Grant revolving loan funds and $90,000 in LB 840 funds to open the store.

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