I have dealt with Stockton Ace Hardware for 25-30 years. They have varied tremendously over the years. I don't think all Ace Hardware locations are as well set up as this one. My recent dealings with Mark Ivary, the owner, have been very good. He is very knowledgeable on the product. I have no idea where or how he got all his expertise, but he gives excellent recommendations on product quality and brands. If you come into the store with a particular item in mind, he will talk to you about the quality of that particular brand. He will also suggest other products that are worth the added cost if he thinks it will do a better job.
He does have new people join the team who aren't as well-versed on the product. This doesn't mean they're not good clerks though. Mark will work with them to educate them on the products and where they are located in the store.
I have purchased so much from this store over the years and have really gotten to know the brands that I can rely on. If you need anything from Mark, whether it be in-store products or skilled work, he will be able to provide it for you. He knows who to call or what to do for all your carpentry needs.