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Westlake Ace Hardware: Building Dreams With Make48

In the heart of Kansas City, nestled amongst the bustling streets and lively neighborhoods, stands Westlake Ace Hardware—a beacon of community support and innovation. With 160 stores in 12 states, this local home improvement store has been more than just a place to buy tools and supplies; it's been a cornerstone of support for aspiring inventors and makers alike.

From the very first season of Make48, Westlake Ace Hardware has been a steadfast sponsor, fueling the dreams of contestants and providing the materials they need. This season is no different, with Westlake Ace stepping up to support not one, but three (3!) events in the Kansas City area.

It kicked off with a bang in Kansas City, where students from Project Lead The Way came together in February to showcase their creativity and ingenuity. With Westlake Ace's support, these budding engineers and innovators had access to the resources they needed to bring their ideas to life. With only 48 hours, participants planned their shopping list in advance, for the limited shopping time allowed (1 hour) at the Prairie Village Westlake location. 

team checking out at ace hardware with associate
Purchasing at Westlake Ace Hardware with Team Redacted Columbia Area Career Center

Nicknamed ‘The Helpful Place’ a team of Westlake Ace associates were on hand, helping teams and tool techs grab the essential items for their prototypes, but also for the trophy build! The technicians are also on the clock, doing double duty building prototypes, trophies, and props for the competition.  

“We are very proud of our long-standing partnership with Make48,” said Andy Schmitt, chief operating officer of Westlake Ace Hardware. “It’s a pleasure to support this organization in its mission to inspire and challenge tomorrow’s creators, thinkers, and leaders. Every year, it’s a thrill to see how the support, products and advice we give to these exceptional participants sparks creativity and leads them to create innovations and solutions that could one day impact humankind.”

The support doesn't stop there. In April, Westlake Ace Hardware will lend a helping hand to the Kansas School for the Blind competition, where students from across the country will gather to showcase their talents. It's a testament to Westlake Ace's commitment to inclusivity and accessibility, ensuring that everyone, regardless of ability, has the opportunity to pursue their passions.

Kansas school for the blind in front of Westlake ace hardware
KSSB-M48 Westlake Ace Hardware Run 2023

And finally, the journey culminates at Nationals, to be held at Operation Breakthrough’s 87 and Running Ignition Lab—an organization dedicated to empowering underserved youth. As the official supply-run sponsor of Make48 Nationals, Westlake Ace Hardware will play a pivotal role in providing contestants with the materials they need. 

Make48 co-founder, Tom Gray, said “Over the years and many events, we have thoroughly enjoyed our relationship with Westlake Ace. I think what sets them apart is the service. When inventing, people need one-off items or very unique items, finding those in big box retailers is extremely challenging, and finding an associate with the knowledge has become harder and harder.”

Beyond the competitions and sponsorships, Westlake Ace Hardware is deeply rooted in its community, serving as a hub for innovation and creativity. With a focus on customer satisfaction and strong community relationships, Westlake continues to be a helpful neighborhood hardware store, offering not only materials but also expert advice and support to makers nationwide.

At its core, Westlake Ace Hardware embodies the spirit of collaboration and innovation, proving that when a community comes together, anything is possible. So the next time you walk through the doors of Westlake Ace, remember that you're not just stepping into a store—you're stepping into a world of endless possibilities, where dreams are built one nail at a time.

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