Ace Hardware acquires The Grommet
Ace Hardware Corp. has been dating The Grommet for about a year. Now, the two are getting married.
The Oak Brook, Ill.-based hardware co-op announced an acquisition of the new-product platform that originated as The Daily Grommet. Ace Hardware and The Grommet first began working together in 2016 as part of a collaboration to bring new, unique and otherwise undiscovered products from independent “makers” – creative, independent entrepreneurs — into select Ace stores.
The marriage is based on the concepts of product innovation and retail differentiation, as The Grommet will continue to find and develop products, and the co-op will continue its efforts to make them available to its dealers.
Financial terms of the deal were not revealed
“We both stand as strong advocates for the underdog,” said Ace Hardware CEO John Venhuizen. “From the very beginning we have appreciated our alignment in support for and advancement of the independent maker. Under Ace’s ownership, I believe The Grommet can offer our customers more of that which fuels global economies and makes America special – the unbridled creativity of the local entrepreneur.”
The Grommet operates an e-commerce website that markets and sells new and innovative products. Among its success stories are products such as FitBit, IdeaPaint, OtterBox, SimpliSafe and SodaStream. So far, The Grommet has launched more than 2,500 innovative consumer products and amassed a community of more than three million early adopters and supporters, the company said.
Ace Hardware is now the majority, controlling owner of The Grommet. However, both of the company’s original founders, Joanne Domeniconi and Jules Pieri, and their employees, will continue to have some equity ownership of the company. Ace intends to provide considerable autonomy to The Grommet and has no plans to change the company’s strategic direction.
“Ace’s expansive supply chain and network of 5,034 stores coupled with The Grommet’s innovative product discovery platform combine to give dreamers, inventors, innovators and Makers a sustainable, high quality path to meaningful growth, without having to bow down to the altar of Amazon,” Venhuizen said.
[Watch the slide show of Ace's Innovation display at its recent Chicago convention here.]
Retail analytics from Ace Hardware stores point to the value in aligning both physical stores with a digital discovery platform. Current customers of The Grommet visit Ace over 50% more times than the average Ace Rewards customer and spend 2.8 times as much, the co-op said.
“The Grommet has often been called a ‘general store for innovation,’ and Ace is a trusted destination for the goods and services homeowners need to take care of their homes. That is a powerful combination,” said Jules Pieri, co-founder and CEO of The Grommet.
No comments found
Throwback Thursday: Athletes and the American image
Long before football players began taking a knee during the national anthem, there was a time when athletes, patriotism and controversy clashed on the court of a very different sport.
That sport was tennis.
National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, reported the story in its Jan. 28, 1985 issue, under the headline: “L-P withdraws Davis Cup threat; USTA to address player conduct.”
Back then, LBM distributor Louisiana-Pacific was considering withdrawing its $1.1 million sponsorship of Davis Cup tennis matches because of the behavior of top male players on the U.S. team. Specifically, LP’s president Harry Merlo objected to the crude language and gestures of tennis stars John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors while they represented their country during matches in Stockholm, Sweden.
According to LP’s director of corporate communications, “The team embarrassed themselves and the [American] flag and really did not live up to the traditions of Davis Cup.” Still, the company continued to support the team, after being assured the governing body of U.S. tennis would take action.
# # #
Did you ever cross paths with Harry Merlo? Tell us your story at [email protected].
No comments found
True Value takes aim at customers
Chicago – Television commercials are out. Digital marketing to a targeted audience – or even a specific person — is in. That’s one way to look at the major new advertising strategy taking place at True Value Company.
The Chicago-based co-op revealed its new-approach to marketing here during the General Session of its Fall Reunion. Senior VP of Marketing David Elliott is leading the charge, and he’s armed with some statistics that point to the need to adjust to dramatic societal changes.
For instance: there are tens of millions of people in the U.S. that have never had a relationship with a cable company. Plus, there are another 22 million people this year who cut their cord for cable or pay TV.
At the same time, people are spending an average of three hours a day on their mobile devices. And consumers of all generations have their purchase decisions influenced by at least one digital touch point.
It’s no wonder that Elliott, a New Zealander who worked with True Value CEO John Hartmann at Kiwi hardware co-op Mitre 10, believes that television is becoming increasingly less effective as a marketing medium. And it’s no wonder he’s a big believer in the power of digital tools.
“We’re shifting our marketing spend to a more localized and a more digital approach,” he told True Value dealers during the co-op’s General Session here. “It will now be possible to customize promotions to greatly relevant products and components.”
He added: “Digital means we can reach an individual, rather than segments of markets by geography or age or income,” he said. “That’s exciting, and that’s a big change.”
Another big change, and one that generated spontaneous applause at the General Session, was the announcement that the co-op plans to eliminate its national ad fees, which amounted to about 1.4% of each retailer’s warehouse purchases.
The co-op is describing its 2018 marketing plan as “Tools for Transformation.” It’s also described as a “hyper local, digital driven tools will put the pieces in place for you to reach more customers with exactly what they’re looking for.”
Among those local channels of getting the message out are broadsheets, paid search, social media, e-mail, online advertising, point-of-purchase displays, direct mail and mobile push.
To effectively market to consumers, the co-op will need to identify customers across their various digital devices, not by name but by behavior. A key to that effort is the co-op’s True Value Rewards card, he said.
The new strategy will kick off in April. “I think it’s an ongoing evolution of marketing to be more responsive to customers,” Elliott said. “It’s a far more relevant approach that is customizable and responsive.”