Ace Hardware acquires Emery-Waterhouse

Emery’s “retail execution center” display at its 2012 market in Providence, R.I.

Ace Hardware Corp. announced today that it has acquired Emery-Waterhouse, the Portland, Maine-based distributor of hardlines products for independent lumber, paint, industrial and hardware outlets. 

“The acquisition of Emery-Waterhouse serves as a tremendous catalyst to leverage wholesale purchasing power,” said John Venhuizen, president and CEO, Ace Hardware. “We are confident that both Ace retailers and Emery-Waterhouse customers will benefit from the additional scale and expanded assortments.”

Emery will do business as an independently operated, majority-owned subsidiary of Ace Hardware, with the Emery-Waterhouse brand continuing operations as a separate business.

Emery’s leadership team -- including CEO Steve Frawley and COO Don Dickson -- will remain in place, as it provides wholesale distribution services to independent retailers, according to the announcement. Emery-Waterhouse’s longtime majority owner, Charlie Hildreth, will continue to have a presence in the organization.

“As a leader in the hardlines wholesale distribution industry, aligning with Ace Hardware -- the nation’s largest convenience hardware leader at wholesale and at retail -- simply makes good business sense,” said Steve Frawley, CEO of Emery-Waterhouse. “Knowing that we are part of a changing and consolidating industry, this is the right decision for Emery-Waterhouse and our customers.”

Emery is one of nine regional-distributor members of Distribution America. It remains unclear how the Ace acquisition will affect Emery’s participation with DA.

In the announcement, Ace emphasized that Emery was a “profitable” business. 

Venhuizen described the acquisition, financial details of which were not immediately disclosed, in terms of industry leadership.

“My belief continues to be that Ace has two options as our industry evolves and consolidates: We can do nothing and hope the chips fall our way, or we can participate as a leader to shape our industry for the long-term benefit of Ace shareholders. … Our board of director’s and officer team’s preference is to lead.”

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