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October 16, 2023
Washington resident Stanley Sanchez, a veteran and a first generation Hispanic business owner, is no stranger to the embodiment of inclusion in the business world. After having successfully run the Ace Handyman Services (AHS) franchise on the Kitsap Peninsula for a little over a year and a half, Stanley largely credits his Hispanic and military background. His story serves as a beacon of inspiration for those seeking to break barriers in the construction and franchising sectors.
Stanley came from a Dominican family where he witnessed his mother working tirelessly in multiple jobs to support their family. His early experiences shaped his worldview, first moving to the Virgin Islands at 9 years old and ultimately settling in Puerto Rico in search of a better life. Stanley promised himself he would steer away from the traditional 9-to-5 grind and pursue meaningful opportunities.
As a young man from a modest background, Stanley recognized he could either enlist in the military or burden himself with student loans for the foreseeable future. He chose the former and dedicated 13.5 years of his life to the U.S. Navy, ultimately achieving the rank of first class petty officer. Eventually he felt it was time to embark on a new journey, and entered the franchising world.
This decision proved right, as he has already seen sales double in 2023. Stanley greatly attributes his success to his military background, Hispanic heritage, and his commitment to open and inclusive communication within the AHS family.
The Navy instilled in him a powerful work ethic, discipline, and the ability to adapt to challenging situations qualities that would serve him well in his entrepreneurial journey. “Make a plan, stick to it, and adjust when you have to,” he says. “Try your best not to panic if something doesn’t go right which, you know, can happen a lot.”
Equally impactful was Stanley’s upbringing. His mother’s work ethic and determination to make sure Stanley would have opportunities has always served as a constant source of inspiration. Stanley describes his mother’s influence as his biggest push, as he doesn’t want to drop the ball and let all of her hard work go to waste. He recognizes the importance of offering value to his team, ensuring that they feel valued and appreciated in the workplace. “I believe that my upbringing and past experiences help me constantly keep in mind to offer value to my team,” he explains. “Right now, that value is ensuring that they have a place where they enjoy working and where they know they are appreciated.”
Stanley also emphasizes the importance of open communication, which is fundamental to the work environment and making everyone feel welcome. He says, “Our teams work very independently, and keeping open lines of communication helps everyone have a voice. We’ve made many changes thanks to ideas from the team.”
Not only is open communication a key factor in the success within Stanley’s team on the Kitsap Peninsula, but also within AHS as a company. They have done a wonderful job fostering an encouraging and inclusive environment. Sanchez acknowledges the exceptional support system and Ace’s strong brand reputation as pivotal factors that influenced his decision to choose AHS as his business venture.
BUILDING A MORE INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY
As a co-founder of AHS and now vice president of franchise development, we have always strived to help build a more inclusive community within the handyman services industry. We recognize that our strength lies in the unique talents, perspectives, and experiences of our craftspeople and staff. We actively foster an environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their best. By embracing diversity and inclusion and fostering a culture of transparent communication, we are not only building a stronger AHS but also creating a more vibrant and prosperous future for our franchisees, craftsmen, and customers alike.
Ace Handyman Services is a national franchise and subsidiary of Ace Hardware. Each franchise dispatches multi-skilled craftspeople who can complete over 1,162 household projects including drywall, painting, floors and carpentry. Ace Hardware purchased Handyman Matters in 2019, an existing franchise founded by Colette and Andy Bell in 1998. At the time of acquisition, the company had 119 operating territories; it now has over 379. AHS franchises in Washington state are licensed general contractors.
For aspiring Hispanic entrepreneurs and veterans considering a career in the construction or franchising sector, Stanley offers words of encouragement: “Don’t sell yourself short. Sometimes walking into a room and looking around to see that you are different, whether due to ethnicity or a military background, that difference brings a new point of view and adds value.”
Stanley’s advice to the broader construction industry is equally compelling. He urges organizations to be deliberate in their hiring practices and in selecting representatives who are the face of the organization. Embracing diversity and inclusion at all levels of an organization, Stanley believes, is the key to unlocking new creative solutions and driving innovation within the industry.
As we honor Construction Inclusion Week, let Stanley Sanchez’s story serve as a powerful reminder that diversity, determination, and inclusion are the cornerstones of progress in every corner of the construction world.
Colette Bell is vice president of franchise development for Ace Handyman Services and wife of Ace Handyman Services CEO Andy Bell. Andy and Colette founded their handyman franchise, Handyman Matters, 25 years ago and sold it to Ace Hardware, where they became Ace Handyman Services in 2019.