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Christmas Creep coming to a store near you

BY Brae Canlen

Several national retailers, including Home Depot and Sears, will begin setting up their Christmas displays this week, according to an article in the Tampa Tribune. The phenomenon of early Christmas merchandising, known as “Christmas Creep,” is overshadowing Halloween this year, the newspaper reported. 

Home Depot spokesman Craig Fishel told the newspaper that “many stores” will set up their Christmas programs by Sept. 19. Each store will put out the full assortment: ornaments, wreaths, artificial trees, figurines, inflatable yard sculptures and strings of lights. Fresh-cut trees will come later in the season, he said. 

Fishel cited feedback from customers as a reason for the earlier-than-usual launch, which comes three months before the actual holiday.

Sears and Kmart will also start stocking their Christmas merchandise in mid-September, where they will share the seasonal area with Halloween decorations.

Sam’s Club put out displays of Christmas lights, wrapping, holiday cards and Harry & David sampler baskets in early September, the article said, and by early October, Sam’s Club locations nationwide will display six themed Christmas trees and more holiday food, according to a company spokeswoman.

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Kenmore may be the next Sears brand to expand

BY Brae Canlen

Sears Holdings is looking for other retail outlets to sell its Kenmore-branded appliances, the Wall Street Journal reported. According to a LinkedIn job posting, Sears is searching for a chief marketing officer for its appliance line who will promote appliance purchases through “external groups” such as Costco. 

Costco recently struck a deal with Sears to carry a selection of its Craftsman brand tools, which are also available at Ace Hardware stores.

A Sears spokesman confirmed the job posting, describing it as a way “to identify new, emerging ways to reach current and future target audiences.” He added that there is no exact timeline for when Sears might “go external” with the Kenmore line.

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Ace Hardware recognizes “cool” stores

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Ace Hardware has recognized four member stores with the company’s first-ever “Coolest Hardware Store” awards. 

The four winners, named during Ace’s annual Platinum Conference held in Las Vegas this summer, share common traits yet offer local flavor and product selection above and beyond most hardware stores:

• Sunshine Ace Hardware in Naples, Fla., located just minutes from the beach, is a reliable resource for locals and visitors, ready to hook the catch of the day and complete home maintenance projects. The store features aisles stocked with fishing supplies, including rods, hooks, sinkers, bobbers and more, along with a broad selection of do-it-yourself necessities. Michael Wynn, president of Sunshine Hardware, works with some associates that bring up to five decades of experience to their customers.

• In Charlotte, N.C., residents turn to Blackhawk Ace Hardware for home maintenance products, helpful advice and whatever pleasant surprises owner Jim Wilkerson has in store. The in-store Blackhawk wood shop is staffed with craftsmen that handle small wood projects, a service not offered in other Charlotte hardware stores. Blackhawk Ace also features a garden department stocked with unique plants selected by the garden center manager on regular trips to the Pacific Northwest.

• Suburban Washingtonians receive a green helping hand from Old Takoma Ace Hardware in Takoma Park, Md. The store has seamlessly integrated the local green-living commitment into its product offering. Carrying a variety of organic and eco-friendly product options such as paint, cleaning supplies, fertilizers, potting soil and recycled paper products, Old Takoma Ace owner Gina Schaefer has fostered a loyal customer base that can rely on the store to carry the products they desire.

• Across the country in Yankton, S.D., Kopetsky’s Ace Hardware provides everything Yankton-area residents need for outdoor recreation, from bikes to kayaks, on top of a stellar hardware selection. Owner Leo Kopetsky helps people avoid traveling more than 100 miles to a larger city in order to purchase equipment for outdoor activities and comfortable living at home.

“We applaud all of our winning stores, their owners and staff for their commitment to helpful service in the community,” said Kane Calamari, VP retail operations and new business at Ace Hardware. “Our co-op business model lends itself to stores that can differentiate themselves based on the community they’re in. We are proud that these four local Ace Hardware stores have made a strong effort to provide their customers with products that fit their way of life.” 

Owners received trophies to commemorate their awards.

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