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Ace elects new board members

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Ace Hardware elected three new members and re-elected one member to the Ace board of directors during its annual shareholders meeting on June 3, the Oak Brook, Ill.-based co-op announced.

Ace owners Jim Ackroyd and Gina Schaefer were elected to their first terms, and Jeff Schulein, also an Ace retailer, was re-elected to the board for his third and final term. Jeffrey Girard, owner of Beam Dynamics, a private business that manufactures precision metal components, was elected to his first term as the board’s second non-member director.

The election was a hotly contested one, as a group of about 750 co-op members who call themselves “Concerned Ace Owners” presented an alternate slate of Ace owners to fill the four open board spots, an initiative which was defeated. According to Patrick Smith, one of the Concerned Ace Owners nominees, his slate was defeated approximately 1,300 to 1,000 votes — a 34 percent margin — although he added that the results have not been certified.

“On the one hand, we’re disappointed. On the other, we stood up and spoke our piece and the board listened, so I feel we did accomplish a lot,” said Smith, president of Dunn Hardware in Lyndhurst, Ohio. A total of 12 people, including 10 retailers and two outside directors, make up the board of directors, which sets strategic policy and direction for Ace management.

In addition, Ace retailer and seven-year board member David Ziegler succeeded Tom Glenn as chairman. Glenn had completed his maximum term on the board, according to the company’s by-laws.

Ackroyd, 52, is the CEO of Vision Ace Hardware, an 11-store chain with stores throughout southwest Florida. Schaefer, 37, owns and manages Logan Hardware, the parent store of a five-store Ace Hardware chain in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area. And Schulein, 66, is CEO of Crown Hardware, a 16-store Ace Hardware chain in Southern California and Arizona.

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Sherwin-Williams lowers guidance for the year

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Sherwin-Williams expects lower net sales in the 2008 fiscal year, a reversal of a formerly anticipated sales gain in the low single digits.

The “significantly lower expectation” of per-share income is due to the “expected continuation of the unprecedented downturn in the U.S. housing market and rapidly rising raw material cost increases.”

Sherwin-Williams is doubly hurt by rising petroleum costs, because it uses petroleum both for shipping needs and raw materials for paint products.

For the same reasons, the company also lowered its second-quarter earnings-per-share guidance. Sherwin-Williams plans a conference call to discuss the issues later today.

In other company news, the Cleveland-based retailer and manufacturer announced a $50,000 grant to the Cleveland Housing Network (CHN).

The city of Cleveland, which has struggled with poverty- and housing-related issues even before the downturn in the housing market, utilizes the CHN to offer lease-purchase agreements to low-income residents. Last week, Sherwin-Williams CEO Chris Connor and 30 company associates helped paint and rehab a home as part of the CHN lease purchase program.

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Lowe’s promotes ‘staycation’ trend

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Through its “Creative Ideas” Web site, and other online tools, Lowe’s has opted to promote the “staycation” trend of individuals foregoing vacations in favor of spending time at home, primarily because of high gas prices.

At www.lowescreativeideas.com/outdoorliving, the retailer promotes hammocks, lounge chairs, flowers, tiki torches and other “tropical” items meant to help create a “tropical paradise” in the backyard. The site also gives tips on how to create an “urban garden.”

The company is using the site to promote items such as fire pits, trellises, lounge chairs and hammocks under the “Garden Treasures” line; as well as Weber charcoal grills and Malibu solar tiki torches.

At www.lowes.com/learn2grow, the retailer also offers tips for creating a European-style garden, with flower tips and product suggestions on fountains, trellises and gazebos.

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