Ace names new board members
Ace Hardware has announced the appointment of two new member directors to its board of directors: Stew Elliott Jr., of Elm Grove, Wis.; and Amy Kaplanis of Granby, Colo.
Elliott, 55, is a majority shareholder of Elliott Ace Hardware, a four-store Ace chain located in the western suburbs of Milwaukee. Prior to taking ownership in Ace Hardware, Elliott held a leadership sales role with Amerock, a vendor serving the convenience hardware industry, for six years.
Kaplanis, 43, is an owner of Country Ace Hardware in Granby, Colo. Prior to becoming affiliated with Ace, Kaplanis worked for Accenture in its Consulting and Services practices for about 10 years. Additionally, she worked for Black & Decker for six years.
The company also voted to extend chairman David Ziegler’s term, now expiring in 2014. Ziegler, 57, was named chairman of Ace Hardware board of directors in 2008. He is co-owner of Ziegler’s Ace Hardware, a nine-store chain in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. In 2013, Ziegler became a Fellow for the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD).
A total of 11 individuals, including nine retailers and two outside directors, comprise Ace’s board of directors.
House-Hasson unveiling local website tool for dealers at June dealer market
In response to demand for Web-savvy tools and a localized focus, independent retail hardware distributor House-Hasson has created a website tool that will allow customers to order products from the House-Hasson website and pick them up at a store near them.
House-Hasson’s 2,000-plus independent hardware store and lumber yard dealers will be able to employ the electronic tool to help promote a hyper-local marketing ethic to their customers and offer a digital solution to the printed circular.
“Customers will be buying locally, from their neighborhood stores, not placing an online order in the classic sense,” said Ron Yatteau, House-Hasson’s director of online dealer services. “What makes our program unique is that we’re not branding the product’s name: we’re branding the dealers’ stores.”
In addition to the use of a cloud-based website, House-Hasson will be adding social features to the program to help users stay relevant and more connected to their customers.
The tool will be unveiled at the House-Hasson summer dealer market in Sevierville, Tenn., between June 20 and 22.
J.D. Power again points to Ace
An annual measure of customer satisfaction among home improvement retailers is following a familiar storyline again this year.
J.D. Power & Associates Wednesday morning released its 2013 Home Improvement Retailer Satisfaction Study showing Ace Hardware at the top of the list for the seventh consecutive year.
Ace Hardware achieved a score of 803 on a 1,000-point scale and performed particularly well in the staff and service and store facility factors. Menards ranks second with a score of 770, and performed particularly well in the price and sales and promotions factors, according to J.D. Power.
Lowe’s and Menards traded places on the rankings, with Menards moving to second from third.
True Value and Home Depot also swapped positions, with Home Depot falling from fifth to fourth.
The J.D. Power report pointed to two key operational findings from its survey. One is that staff and service are the most influential factor on customer satisfaction. Secondly, while sales and promotions help drive traffic to retail, customer service keeps customers loyal.
“Home improvement retailers are continually looking for alternative ways to stay competitive and gain a larger share of wallet,” said Christina Cooley, director of the home improvement industries practice at J.D. Power. “Before you can satisfy a customer, you have to create a compelling reason for them to come in the door. Once they arrive, you have many opportunities to delight them with staff assistance and store services.”