Family-owned South Tampa hardware store hands reins over to Ace Hardware, keeps pool company

Bay to Bay Hardware, which has been a staple in South Tampa since 1947, is changing hands and will become an Ace Hardware franchise this summer. 

Brothers Eric and Allan Jacobson purchased the hardware store in 1972 and strived to provide the best products and best experience possible for every customer.

"The one thing we prided ourselves in was customer service," shared general manager Mike Pisarski. "Customer service was our forte. That experience kept the customers coming back. We had a one-on-one. I knew people by name."

"I came to the hardware store all the time, every day almost," said customer and small business owner Sam Morgan. "Eric is the one that taught me about customer service."

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Morgan recalled his experiences with Eric Jacobson fondly, "I think he knew everything... I used to try to find stuff he didn't have!"

That commitment to customers helped to keep Bay to Bay Hardware in business during the big-box store boom.

"Back in the day we were really, really busy until Home Depot came in and started blowing people out of the water," said Pisarski.

Jacobson took note and made changes to stay competitive and to keep offering something the box stores didn't have.

"We diversified and went into the pool supply business and that became our niche," recalled Pisarski.

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While the business grew, so did Jacobson's family.

"I grew up here, I grew up in this store," shared his daughter Lisa Jacobson now the owner and operator of Bay to Bay Hardware and Pool Supplies.

Morgan remembered her growing up in the business.

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

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

"I ended up buying the store from him in 2013," she shared. "Over the next two years, he taught me the business. He would talk to me about clients. He would tell me about the pool industry."

That kept the community hardware store in the community.

"The nicest thing about spending 30 years at one location (is that) I saw young people come in, have kids, their kids grow up, get married and have kids, so that was really interesting," said Pisarski.

"I'm just thankful that we've had the support of everyone in this community for so long," said Lisa Jacobson.

To learn more about Bay to Bay Hardware, including its "Tip of the Day" visit the store's Facebook page.

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

Bay to Bay Pool Supplies will be separate and Lisa Jacobson will still operate that from behind the hardware store. 


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