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Harry Spyrka

by Maggie Van Ostrand

Harry Spyrka can be found almost all the time at Frazier Park Lumber & Hardware, affectionately referred to by the community as simply "Ace." Since the old days when Frazier Park Lumber & Hardware was located where Alpine Lumber is today, it has been in the Spyrka (pronounced "Sperka") family. Then the Spyrkas bought the Ace franchise, a new piece of property, and moved to their present location.

German-born Harry met his wife, Laura, right there in the store. She was a waitress at the old Farmers Table restaurant and would shop at Ace for supplies.

They have three children, a son, Jesse (24), who waits tables at Jack Spratt's Restaurant in West L.A. between acting gigs and appearances with The Groundlings acting troupe, of which he is a member.

Daughter Mary is 14, and Lindsay 12. Both girls attended El Tejon and Frazer Park Schools, and the family recently moved down to Bakersfield so they could attend St. Francis.

Harry recently bought a boat so he could take the kids wake boarding, a single ski, wide boarding across wakes, the bigger the better. They wake board at Buena Vista, about 10 minutes from their house, or at Pyramid Lake, or the coast.

Another sport Harry enjoys is hockey and they have season tickets at Centennial Garden to see the Bakersfield Condors, and occasionally drive in to Los Angeles to see a Kings game at Staples Center.

As far as TV goes, Harry mostly enjoys seeing his son, Jesse, when he's on General Hospital and says Jesse's acting is "pretty neat." Another show he likes is Fear Factor though he quickly adds, "but I'd never go on it." While Laura does not enjoy that show, she does like to cook. "I like everything she makes," beams Harry, "whether it's Chinese or Mexican or barbecue or whatever."

Although the Spyrka's black cat, Isabelle, has been spayed, she still chooses to enjoy the Bakersfield night life, while their less adventurous Bijon Frizé, Romeo, would rather hang out in the fenced yard.

Every morning at 6:00 a.m. when traffic is light, Harry carpools to work with brother Curt, who manages Ace's lumberyard, and right-hand man, Paul. He doesn't leave for home till 6 p.m.

Without any hesitation, Harry says Ace's fastest moving product is paint. "It just amazes me how much paint we sell," exclaims Harry, "whether it's to the local handymen, contractors, do-it-yourselfers, or housewives, the paint sells faster than any other product. There are a lot of women do-it-yourselfers," Harry notes, "much more today than ever before." He guesses the ratio of women to men who shop at Ace is about 40/60.

We can say one thing for sure about the Spyrka family: they're Aces with the community.

Reprinted by permisson of Maggie Van Ostrand

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