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The Executive, Retooled

Andy Carlson left a cushy corporate life to open an Ace hardware--then transformed the store into a magnet for hip urbanites.

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This story appears in the May 2010 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The Executive, Retooled

Andy Carlson had the corner office, the expense account and the big title: vice president of marketing for PeopleSoft. But he was growing weary of the grind, and when Oracle mounted a hostile takeover of PeopleSoft in 2004, Carlson cashed in his stock options and looked around for something new. "I have two little boys, ages 9 and 10," he says. "They had no idea what I did in software, and I couldn't explain it to them. I want them to grow up with something they can understand."

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