Use this search box to find articles that have run in our newspapers over the last several years.

Residents turnout to make their 'dreams' come true

"The Apprentice" winner gets a kick out of watching resident Jane Spear pose with her can of paint. Reminder Publications photo by Natasha Clark
By Danielle Paine

Reminder Assistant Editor

EAST LONGMEADOW The line to meet "The Apprentice's" Bill Rancic last Tuesday wrapped from the front of Rocky's Ace Hardware all the way to the back, winding through the small appliance section of aisle eight.

Customers of Rocky's and fans of the reality television star waited patiently with their purchases and friends to receive a handshake and an autographed book from Rancic himself. Others bent over the two computers being used for Dream Ace contest hopefuls to complete a grueling online application.

"I do watch ("The Apprentice"); I literally came in for just the paint," said Jane Spear of East Longmeadow as she waited in line with a gallon of green paint. "So, I'm getting a kick out of this. I'm going to get a book too."

Rancic made the local stop last week to promote the national Dream Ace contest in which one aspiring entrepreneur from every state will match wits to win their own Ace Hardware store, located in Houston, Texas. After winning the first season of business tycoon Donald Trump's reality television show, Rancic has become a national icon for entrepreneurs.

"In my opinion (the entreprenuarial spirit) is what made this country great," Rancic said. "And small business is good for the community from the level of service to knowing the owner's name, and the money stays within the community."

"By far, this has been one of the best stops we've had," said Paula Erickson, Ace Hardware director of advertising.

Erickson explained that Ace Hardware first met Rancic on last season's "The Apprentice" where he had returned to judge contestants. The company appeared on the reality show challenging contestants to renovate two Boy's and Girl's clubs.

Rocco Falcone, president of Rocky's Ace Hardware said he was excited about the turnout as he looked over the crowd.

"I think it would be exciting to have a future entreprenuer from this area win the contest," he said. "We are proud of our affiliation with Ace which is a true cooperative company meaning that all of us retailers own parts of Ace."