Our History

Bishop Hardware is a family-owned business that is tailored to meeting the needs of its local communities for over 50 years. Bishop Hardware and Supply was founded in 1961 by George T. and Rosalee Preckwinkle and started it’s affiliation with Ace Hardware Co-op that same year.  Bishop Hardware started as a single store business located in Springfield, Illinois at 214 N. Walnut.  With the vision of neighborhood hardware stores, the Preckwinkle’s became member-owners of Ace Hardware Corporation, a national buying cooperative. Doing so, gave the single store advantages by using Ace's purchasing power, advertising and inventory procedures to leverage their presence in the local communities, and that advantage continues today.

In the 1960’s and 1970s, the corporation did much expanding.  The Preckwinkle’s took a single store operation and expanded to 4 stores with locations in Jacksonville, Taylorville and 2 locations in Springfield.  Before the end of the decade both the Ace Hardware Walnut Street and the Jacksonville store had undergone extensive expansions. After working with their parents for several years, George W. Preckwinkle and Lucy E. Bagot took the reins of the company in the 1980’s. Over the next several years, George and Lucy expanded the company locations to include 7 additional stores located in Normal, Havana, Carlinville, Lincoln, Chatham, Hillsboro and Pontiac. They remain focused on their parent’s vision and their identity as friendly convenient neighborhood hardware stores. Responding to customer demand, the Preckwinkle Team has expanded their product line and customer services to meet the needs of each local community.

Through all of our growth and changes, the company has been confident about the future. As the helpful hardware folks in your community, we promise that, "helping you is the most important thing we have to do today and everyday."

Two Frequently Asked Questions:

1.) So why does Bishop Hardware go by the Ace name?  With all the national and regional advertising, we see a great marketing advantage in associating with Ace. But since all of  our stores are the only Ace in the area, we choose not to add more to the name as some Ace dealers do.  Still, be assured all our Ace stores think and act LOCAL. We choose which Ace products we want to sell. We use our own standards of excellance, and augment our efforts with some of Ace's programs. The best part is that we always remain an independant local focused business!

2.) Bishop Hardware - Why did the Preckwinkle family chose this name for the corporation?  In 1955 George T. Preckwinkle was a sale rep for a St. Louis Area Hardware wholesaler. A friend and customer of his, Bob Bishop, hence the name Bishop Hardware, was looking for a partner. George T. decided to make the switch to retail. When Bob decided to leave the business in 1961, the Preckwinkle family did not want to change the name so many customers had come to know. Well not until they became member-owners of the Ace Hardware Co-Op. So to this day our store signs say Ace, but our Company name remains Bishop. We value our independants as a locally owned business and keep our name the way the Preckwinkle Family started the company.