Ace brings home award, again
The J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Home Improvement Retailer Store Satisfaction Study ranked Ace Hardware “Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Home Improvement Retail Stores” for the ninth year in a row.
The J.D. Power study is based on responses from nearly 3,000 consumers who purchased home improvement products or services in the previous 12 months. Ace Hardware ranked highest among major retailers with an overall satisfaction index score of 807 on a 1,000-point scale. According to consumers, Ace performs particularly well in the categories of staff and service, as well as store facility.
The score is based on performance in five areas: merchandise, price, sales and promotions, staff and service, and store facility.
Lowe's ranked second on the list with a score of 801. Menards, with a score of 792, ranked third.
According to Christina Cooley, director of home improvement industries at J.D. Power, retailers are fighting for a larger share of wallet, making service and offerings increasingly important. "The retailers that best align their resources and investments to helping customers be successful in their home improvement projects will continue to build a a delighted and loyal customer base," she said.
John Venhuizen, President and CEO, Ace Hardware Corporation said the company was honored and humbled by the recognition. “We believe we've been blessed to be in the business of serving others," he said. "Recognition like this from J.D. Power motivates the Ace enterprise to work even more diligently to amaze our customers and better serve our neighbors."
Earlier this year Ace Hardware launched the Ace Center for Excellence,which aims to help companies improve upon their customer experience through customized solutions, such as keynotes and workshops.
Readers Respond: In defense of the hardware store
A recent HBSDaily newsletter linked to an article about a store closing in Indianapolis. The article in the Indianapolis Star and its headline, “Hard times for small hardware stores,” gave an inaccurate picture of the hardware business, according to some. Here is one response:
“It’s more than a bit ironic that shortly after the Indy Star published its retread of the oft-told story predicting the imminent demise of the independent neighborhood hardware store, thousands of Do it Best member-owners, vendors and company staff returned to the Indiana Convention Center for another outstanding Do it Best market. There, where we’ve gathered for nearly 40 years, our members enthusiastically embraced new programs and technology to grow their businesses and achieve their dreams.
"The pursuit of our No. 1 goal of helping independent member-owners grow has only gotten stronger — and our retailers are seeing tremendous opportunities to add exciting new products, attract new customers and sell through more channels (e-commerce and commercial sales, to name a few) than ever before. They are investing in store expansions and adding new locations and competing head-to-head with the big boxes.
"Simply put, the tired narrative about how the small business owner is knocking at death’s door is simply false. True, retailers who have not adapted to the changing economy or focused on appealing to the changing tastes of today’s shoppers are probably struggling — and it’s easy to blame someone else for those challenges.
"But the reality is that progressive, strategic independent businesses are winning, and we couldn’t be prouder of their successes. All one needs as proof is to look at member-owner Pat Sullivan and his Sullivan’s Hardware & Garden, another Indianapolis neighborhood hardware store. Pat just announced a $1 million expansion of his anchor store, doubling its size to serve even more customers. Clearly, he’s not afraid to compete and win — and neither should the thousands of other independent home improvement retailers across the country.”
— Rich Lynch, VP marketing, Do it Best Corp.
Ace Hardware names a VP of IT
Ace Hardware has appointed Rick Williams as its new VP information technology, a role that will involve driving the co-op's strategic technology and systems management.
In his new position, Williams will report to Ace CFO Bill Guzik.
“Rick has been a loyal Ace employee for more than 25 years and is incredibly well-respected within the Ace Hardware organization,” said Bill Guzik, executive VP, CFO, chief risk officer, Ace Hardware Corporation. “Rick knows our people and knows our business; these qualities are paramount to the success of our growing IT and business endeavors."
Williams has been with the company since 1988, when he joined as a software developer. He has amassed over 15 years working in Ace's IT retail division, and he has worked with every other department at Ace during his time with the co-op.
In his most recent role, he was working as the senior director of IT business systems.