Ace live in Orlando: getting down to business

The co-op doubles down on its ‘Famous for Four’ effort.
a group of people standing in front of a sign
Ace dealers ride into their convention in Orlando.

Ace Hardware kicked off the hardware convention season with a live event in Orlando that had an official tally of some 5,500 registered Ace retailer attendees.

The Orlando event at the Orange County Convention Center was the first large convention for Ace Hardware since September of 2019 in Atlanta, and the first of a series of hardware and distributor events to host live events in the coming days. (See events listings)

In a virtually delivered general session, Ace leaders picked up where they left off in Atlanta, hammering on the concept of ‘Famous for Four,’ Ace’s slogan for its emphasis on paint, outdoor power equipment, power tools and BBQ. CEO John Venhuizen said the co-op is successfully doubling down on these four crucial categories. Market share, he said, has doubled in the last three years in OPE and BBQ. 

On a five-year basis, the four categories produced the following growth at Ace:

Big Four and 5-year growth
• Paint, 6.1%
• Outdoor power, 29.6%
• Power tools, 15.2%
• BBQ, 35.8%

Venhuizen addressed the three retail keys of place, people and product, while pointing to a geographic footprint and proximity to customers that allows Ace to be faster than Amazon on items that are in stock in the stores. 

Ace’s Buy Online, Deliver from Store (BODFS) represents 22% of Ace’s online business. The stores that are participating in the program are up 284% over the stores who are not, he said.

The Ace Convention, which concluded Sept. 23, featured 27 training session of a live-and-virtual format, and 19 live sessions on the show floor. There was also a BBQ demo space, with 30 vendors cooking and showing off the latest in grilling innovation.

The event marked a somewhat back-to-normal approach to large gatherings. Though masks were not mandated under Florida rules, attendees were required to show either a vaccination card or a negative COVID-19 test, in order to enter mask free.

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