The Fritz family took a moment Friday to honor patriarch Ed Fritz, center front right, who received the Estwing Golden Hammer Award given individuals who have provided exceptional service in the field of hardware and home improvement services for more than 50 years. Congratulating him are, front from left, daughter-in-law, Gina Fritz; wife, Jaqueline; and his son, Eric Fritz; and back, Eric Mancinotti and his grandchildren, Jeff Fritz, Taylor and Marissa Bowersock and Luke and Kylie Wrasman. (DHI Me
The Fritz family took a moment Friday to honor patriarch Ed Fritz, center front right, who received the Estwing Golden Hammer Award given individuals who have provided exceptional service in the field of hardware and home improvement services for more than 50 years. Congratulating him are, front from left, daughter-in-law, Gina Fritz; wife, Jaqueline; and his son, Eric Fritz; and back, Eric Mancinotti and his grandchildren, Jeff Fritz, Taylor and Marissa Bowersock and Luke and Kylie Wrasman. (DHI Me
ELIDA — The Fritz family took a moment out their busy Friday to honor patriarch Ed Fritz, who received the Estwing Golden Hammer Award given to individuals who have provided exceptional service in the field of hardware and home improvement services for more than 50 years.

Fritz started in the hardware business in June 1954 right after graduating from high school.

“I graduated, took two weeks to paint my mom’s house and I was off to Indianapolis to train in the business,” Fritz said.

Since he was only 17 years old, Fritz had to obtain a work permit before starting on the fifth floor of a warehouse in Indianapolis learning the merchandise. After a year in that position, Fritz moved on to six months of training in customer service. Finally, he learned the catalogs and pricing so he could price out orders.

“I was the first of three guys to finish out at that time so I was the boss at 19 years old,” Fritz said.

In 1957, Fritz married Jaqueline Rozelle and started working the northwest Ohio region with accounts like Cloverdale Hardware, Ottoville Hardware, Pohlman Hardware and Vaughnsville Hardware, to name a few.

“The hardware business has some of the most trustworthy and honest people,” Fritz said. “I had keys to a lot of people’s stores so I could go in and set up seasonal displays and promotional items and drop off orders.”

In 1983, Fritz and his son, Eric, purchased the hardware store on main street in Delphos from Bill Remlinger.

“I was still on the road but Eric wanted that store,” Fritz said. “He worked it by himself for 10 years and really made it grow. I was very proud.”

In 1993, Eric told his dad he should come off the road because he needed him to work at the Delphos store.

“I came in and it freed Eric up to work on the rental business,” Fritz said.

Fritz had no idea the hammer had arrived from Estwing. The family thought Friday was the perfect time to reveal the award as it was the grand opening for Masterson’s Ace Hardware in Elida under the ownership of Eric Fritz, his children, Jeff Fritz and Kylie Wrasman, and Eric Mancinotti. Eric and Jeff own and operate the Delphos Ace Hardware and Jeff, Eric and Andrew the Shawnee Ace Hardware.