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Posted: January 3, 2009 7:07 p.m.

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Social Circle community pillar retires after 30 years

Brian Harper/

Passing the torch: Bill with his wife Charlene at his retirement party on Dec. 27 at the Social Circle Ace Hardware.

After thirty years of service in the hardware industry, Bill Clegg has decided to call it quits. As the owner and operator of the Ace Hardware in Social Circle, Clegg has decided to hand over the reigns to his son Joel Clegg. "I’m leaving the store in good hands," said Clegg. "Of course I will miss the people. A lot of the customers are like family and friends since I have been here so long."

Clegg began working for the Social Circle hardware store in 1972 after graduating from the University of Georgia. After a three year tenure as an employee of the store he purchased the business from owner James Wiley Jr. in 1975 and has been the head of operations ever since.

With more than three decades of service under his belt, Clegg has watched the times change tremendously. Clegg has seen the change in retail and products being sold to the rise and fall of the economy. But with every adversity faced, Clegg did his best to maintain the feel of an old hardware store.

The store has kept its southern appeal with its nostalgic country atmosphere. From the windmill standing tall in the parking lot to the Coke and John Deere paintings hung on the wall, the store provides a perfect replica of where you should buy your hardware.

But along with the country vibe comes a Christian atmosphere. Clegg who is a Sunday school teacher at his local church brings his Christian beliefs into the work place.

Always a man who puts God first Clegg has turned to his religious ways to keep him occupied. "Between church, my grand children and home projects, I expect to stay fairly busy," said Clegg. "I will come back if they need me, but I don’t think that’s going to happen."

Confident that he has left the store in good hands, Clegg is looking forward to his new life outside of the store. "They won't need me. They know the store and operations as well if not better than I do," said Clegg.

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