Once a lively hub of industry and entertainment, Washington, DC’s, Logan Circle crumbled in the aftermath of the 1968 riots. Decades of neglect led to boarded-up buildings, overgrown and littered sidewalks, and widespread drug use and addiction. Laid off again and tired of the tech industry, Gina Schaefer needed a fresh start. Determined to bring her neighborhood back to life, Gina opened her first hardware store near Whitman-Walker’s Addiction Services program. What began as an effort to help her community recover evolved into a safe space for countless people in recovery to rebuild their lives. Recovery Hardware shares the powerful true story of A Few Cool Hardware Stores’ CEO Gina Schaefer’s path to building an innovative business that revitalized her urban community and provided opportunities for everyone to thrive, no matter their past.
Gina Schaefer is the founder and CEO of over a dozen hardware stores in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, and the surrounding areas (including the Waverly Ace Hardware around the corner from our new store on Greenmount Ave!) As a member of the Ace Hardware Cooperative, Gina leads a multimillion-dollar business that employs more than 250 people. She is dedicated to maintaining a strong corporate culture and has begun a transfer of ownership through an ESOP to her teammates.
David Lidz is a social entrepreneur, who, having himself recovered from alcoholism, has built organizations missioned to help others overcome addiction and other barriers to employment, housing, health and wealth. In 2010, David founded Appalachian Field Services (AFS), a Maryland-based construction company and worker-owned cooperative, which specializes in the renovation and maintenance of distressed housing stock, and which hires exclusively individuals recovering from addiction and/or incarceration, or who are facing other barriers to employment.