Ace Hardware points to show's success

Fall convention draws 10,000 in-person attendees to Orlando.
a bench in front of a building

Ace Hardware reported a successful in-person convention Sept. 21-23 in Orlando, Fla., that brought together more than 10,000 total attendees.

“Opening the show floor Tuesday morning to greet the rush of a couple thousand eager Ace retailers was exhilarating,” said John Surane, executive vice president, chief merchandising and sales officer at Ace Hardware Corporation.

“It was a major step back toward ‘normal,’ he added, “and they were quite vocal in their appreciation for moving forward with the convention.”

More than 3,300 Ace stores from all 50 states and over 1,200 vendor exhibits made this year's event one of the most successful in recent years, the company indicated, with attendance exceeding Ace’s last in-person convention in Atlanta in 2019.

“They were so excited to be back together, the energy was palpable,” said Surane. 

The event provided Ace teams with what it described as a world-class venue to effectively plan business, take advantage of margin-building buying opportunities, experience the latest and greatest products and build valuable relationships with other attendees.

“I enjoy learning from my fellow retailers and find that these events are how we grow and advance,” said attendee Buck Hurst, owner of Buck’s Ace Hardware in St. George, Utah.

Ace further noted that its fall convention occupied more than 800,000 square feet indoors, with an additional 150,000 square feet outdoors for grilling and outdoor power equipment.

The outdoor space – featuring outdoor power and BBQ demos as well as the latest grilling innovations from the top grill brands – was twice the size of Ace’s last in-person show held in Atlanta in 2019.

Additionally, there were more than 15,000 new items added to the Retail Support Center (RSC) network, countless impactful programs unveiled, 8,000 vendor deals and nearly 50 live and virtual training sessions, the Oakbrook-Ill.-based firm pointed out.

More than 200 Ace Handyman Services franchisees attended for the first time, and, despite torrential rains, more than 5,500 attendees participated in the private Ace night at Universal Studios.

The firm added that the ordering window is still open for Ace retailers and that this Orlando convention is on track to generate record sales.

“I couldn’t be happier to report that the Ace team pulled off a safe and productive experience that will pay dividends for our retailers in the months to come,” said Surane.