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Power tools and manicures: A different kind of ladies night

Wednesday - 8/27/2014, 11:35am  ET

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Annie's Ace Hardware store owner Annie Stom, right, helps a customer learn how to use a saw. (WTOP/Alicia Lozano)

WASHINGTON -- They started lining up well before 6 p.m. outside Annie's Ace Hardware store, in Petworth.

Women from all over D.C. brought their bikes and shopping lists to a happy hour unlike any other. Instead of sipping on fancy cocktails, they were here to learn how to use table saws and work on their bicycles.

"It's sort of intimidating when you see a lot of tools marketed towards men," says Annie's Hardware employee Christina McCoy. "But we want to show that something doesn't have to be a pink power drill to be for women."

The happy hour, officially dubbed "Ladies Night," included tutorials on how to use table saws, circular saws and jigsaws, as well as a bike clinic -- and free manicures and massages.

"Anyone of any skill level can really get their hands dirty," McCoy says.

"I like they are reaching out to women, but not dumbing it down," says Chevy Chase resident Stephanie Jordan, who added that she was here for the bike clinic.

But it wasn't just novices in attendance -- some of the women at last week's happy hour event consider themselves regulars at Annie's Hardware.

"I'm a big DIYer and I love a good hardware store," says Park View resident Jessica Simpson. "My next project is hanging doors in my bathroom."

Annie Stom opened her store in 2012 after noticing a demand in the community. A Petworth resident herself, Stom knew the last thing anyone wanted was to drive all the way to Home Depot every time they needed something for a project.

"I could never do it in less than an hour and a half," Stom says. "I saw all these people moving into the community and got to thinking." So Stom retired from the federal government and took a chance on the new venture.

Stom's clientele quickly grew to include young, hip residents eager to test DIY projects found on Pinterest and older neighbors thankful to have something closer to home.

"It's not sexy. It's not ice cream or a bar or whatever, but people really need a hardware store," Stom says. "There is something really gratifying about building something with your own hands and point to it and say, 'I did that.'"

Stom plans to host happy hour events in the future. Check their Facebook page for updates.

With just a few weeks of summer left, don't miss out on some great outdoor DIY projects, courtesy of DIY Network:

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