Ace Hardware is in the final stages of inking a deal that will replace Benjamin Moore, its signature national brand, with a program from Valspar paint, HCN has learned.
“We can confirm that we signed an agreement with Ace, [and] we expect the transaction to close by the end of the calendar year,” said Mark Goldman, VP corporate communications for Valspar. Because the deal is not final, Goldman said he could not comment on the details of the program, including whether Ace’s two paint manufacturing plants are part of the negotiations.
When contacted by HCN, Kate Kirkpatrick, a spokeswoman for Ace, said: “We cannot disclose any information since we have not closed on the agreement yet.”
One person was free to talk about proposed change, however. Edward Klein, senior VP strategy and retailing for Benjamin Moore, told HCN that his company wanted to stay with its “selective distribution” business model. Ace, on the other hand, “[wanted] a national brand that they could sell in all their stores.”
“We’re committed to retailers who are committed to paint,” explained Klein, who helped set up the initial program with Ace in 2005. Klein estimated that Benjamin Moore currently supplies 1,400 to 1,500 of Ace’s dealers, which number approximately 4,000.
These Ace/Ben Moore dealers received a Dec. 7 letter signed by Klein and three other company executives pledging to continue the program. “We are more than prepared to work with these retailers on a direct basis,” Klein said. “We’re evaluating ways to supply them and handle shipping to smaller stores.”
Benjamin Moore also recently struck a deal to supply paint to San Jose, Calif.-based Orchard Supply Hardware. And at the recent True Value Fall Market, Benjamin Moore had a booth where it promoted a billing arrangement with True Value retailers.