Ace executives look back, point forward
During the Oak Brook, Ill.-based hardware co-op’s spring market in Atlanta, executives communicated their mission and their vision.
Delivering good news early in the general session, CEO Ray Griffith pointed to sales of $3.7 billion in fiscal 2011, up 5.1% from the previous year and stronger than the planned growth of 3%.
Ace COO John Venhuizen spelled out the Ace mission during his time on the stage – specifically, to be the best provider of products, services and operating methods for convenience hardware retailers, he said. He pointed to four keys to achieving that goal: Improve the store model; grow new business; drive store projects and reduce store atrophy.
Preliminary attendance reports point to higher numbers of retailers at this year’s spring market compared to last year, but no details were available yet.
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Ace expands footprint in Puerto Rico
By the end of March, Ace Hardware Corp. will convert 13 hardware stores owned by 10 different retailers to the Ace banner.
The 13 stores will continue to be part of the local buying group Ferrmax, but will end ties with True Value, according to Ace.
“These excellent retailers are a welcome addition to the Ace family,” said Bob Moschorak, president of Ace Hardware International Holdings.
The announcement comes at a time when Ace Hardware is showing gains in international development. Ace Hardware’s sales to international customers increased 49% in the fourth quarter of 2011.
The transition to Ace will take place during the coming weeks and will be completed by late March, the Oak Brook, Ill.-based co-op said.
The stores will introduce new signage and product assortments this month. The retailers also will begin offering their customers special promotions through Ace and one of the broadest product selections in the market.
Many of the 13 stores, all part of the local buying group Ferrmax, have been passed down within families for generations and maintain deeply rooted connections to the communities they serve, according to Ace.
“We pride ourselves on providing quality products and service to our customers while also building strong relationships with our communities,” said Jorge Perez, a member of the Ferrmax group and owner of the Aguadilla store.
The converted stores are located in Aguadilla, Bayamon, Caguas (2),
Cidra (2), Gurabo, Ponce, Lajas, San Juan, Hatillo, Vega Baja and Yauco.
Ace operates about 4,600 stores around the world.
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Ace paint campaign hits the airwaves, and stores
For the first time, Ace Hardware Corp. has an ad campaign focusing entirely on paint, plus a “Free Paint Saturday” event slated for March 3.
Launched March 1, the ad campaign encourages consumers to “Find Your Soul Paint” and features the co-op’s exclusive new brand, Clark+Kensington.
The marketing effort, including national television ads, social media and online videos, is an important step in the Oak Brook, Ill.-based co-op’s goal to be a stronger player in the paint category. The co-op has a five-year plan to achieve 8% market share in paint, up from about 4% currently.
“Through the Find Your Soul Paint campaign, we have personified Ace’s helful nature by demonstrating our ability to listen to the needs of our customers and by helping them to navigate the color selection journey,” said John Surane, senior VP merchandising, marketing, advertising and paint for Ace.
The Free Paint Saturday event offers Ace shoppers a free quart of Clark+Kensington paint and primer in one, while supplies last.