Jason Hurst | From Red Vests to Red Cliffs
His family’s original business license issued in 1946 hangs on the wall next to pictures of grandparents, children, and his uncle a former Boston Red Sox pitcher. Jason Hurst sits in his office located inside Hurst General Store-Ace Hardware, a place where his family has served the Southern Utah community for nearly 70 years.
As the current President and General Merchandise Manager of Hurst Stores, Jason joins the line of family members who’ve dedicated themselves to providing high quality service to local community members.
“Being a locally owned retailer, our store represents much of what St. George is; the seasons, the lifestyle, the interests of the community,” Jason said. “We offer our customers a different experience than other stores.”
One of the ways the Hurst family represents the spirit of St. George is by the hard work they’ve put into their business for decades. Jason’s grandmother, Beth, became the sole owner and manager of the store in 1957 and did everything she could to keep the business moving forward.
“My Grandma Beth was a single mother raising five children who helped her with the store,” Jason said. “She and her kids, especially my two aunts, were the glue that kept it all together for many years.”
The determination shown by the Hurst family paid off over the years as Southern Utah grew. The store, originally located on Main Street in St. George, came under the management of Beth’s oldest son, J. Ross Hurst, and then later expanded to its larger, current location on Bluff Street.
The growth in Southern Utah has been both a blessing and a challenge for the Hurst family business. More people in the area meant more potential customers, but also brought in large, corporate stores. It was during this time of growth that the Hurst family decided to put their confidence in the loyalty of their customers and keep the store running at full speed.
“Dad never gave up, even when it may have made sense,” Jason said. “He was pretty stubborn and didn’t want the store to fail.”
Jason inherited his family’s dedication to provide the best customer service possible. He said his family wanted the store to be a place where people can come and get friendly, personal help with their questions.
“We want customers to feel comfortable in our store,” Jason said. “We want them to find good values in our store.“
The Hurst family business has evolved from the original variety store on Main Street to include five Ace hardware stores with locations not just in St George, but also Cedar City, Salt Lake City and Heber, Utah.
“My father always dreamed of owning a modest chain of stores,” Jason said. “He lived to see that dream realized.”
In 2009, Jason teamed up with his friend, Bo Beck, to open The Desert Rat, an outdoor specialty store located on the corner of Bluff Street and St. George Boulevard. The Desert Rat has become a gathering place for local outdoor enthusiasts and visitors alike. A passionate climber for almost two decades, Jason is excited about the many families that come to be outfitted at The Desert Rat.
“Going hiking and experiencing the outdoors as a family is needed now more than ever,” Jason said. “Exposing kids to nature and showing them you can have a good time outside adds value to families and the community.”