DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

Community rallies behind Ace dealer

BY Brae Canlen

An Ace Hardware store that burned down in an Atlanta suburb is being inundated with offers of help and free meals from local citizens and businesses, according to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Handy Ace Hardware store in Tucker was destroyed by a fire two weeks ago, a blaze that is still under investigation. Local restaurants — including LongHorn Steakhouse, Roly Poly and Chick-fil-A — began sending over lunch for the store’s 28 employees. Cakes and pastries were delivered to the Handy Ace’s temporary office, set up across the street.

Greater Good Barbecue has already held a benefit that raised several thousand dollars for the store’s workers. The owner of a fitness studio across the street is planning a Zumba-thon fundraiser Feb. 9 in the parking lot.

Handy Ace Hardware has been doing business in Tucker for half a century. Operated by store owner Harold Smith, a third-generation hardware dealer, the business is housed in a former bowling alley. The Smith family also own stores in in Brookhaven and Dacula, Ga., according to the article. They intend to rebuild the store in Tucker.

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Handy Hardware enters Chapter 11

BY Ken Clark

Shortly after closing its new distribution center in Meridian, Miss., Handy Hardware Wholesale filed for Chapter 11 in hopes of reorganizing and re-emerging by early summer 2013. 

Wells Fargo Credit is providing $30 million in Debtor-in-Possession financing for the co-op. 

In a prepared statement, Handy President Tommy Schifanella said: “Chapter 11 reorganization was not Handy’s preferred option but it was the only option whereby Handy could provide financial stability over the short term for vendors and suppliers to ensure the continued flow of product to Handy’s Member Dealers — without the risk or uncertainty of non-payment.”

Handy members own 1,300 store locations in 14 states. 

The company’s Spring Market, slated for Jan. 31-Feb. 2, will proceed as planned, with town hall meetings arranged to discuss details of the reorganization. 

Handy said it has been unable to reach a negotiated settlement agreement with its real estate lender, Capital One National Association. “Handy will continue to work towards a settlement but intends to use the reorganization process to bring a structured conclusion to this relationship,” according to a statement released late Friday.

The statement announcing the Chapter 11 filing also elaborated on the Dec. 31 closing of the co-op’s Meridian distribution center, which was built in 2010 and contains 460,000 sq. ft. of distribution space. This Meridian facility was developed to help the co-op expand operations into the East and Southeast markets. However, Handy incurred more than $30 million of debt in connection with the building and operation of Meridian. Due to operational snags and the economic environment at the time of opening, Meridian was unable to grow fast enough to cover its costs, the company said.

 

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Ace adds instant savings to rewards

BY Ken Clark

Oak Brook, Ill.-based Ace Hardware launched Instant Savings, a program for Ace Rewards members that allows them to receive instant discounts at the register. 

“We have made it even easier for our customers to shop with Ace by delivering more value and convenience for them,” said John Surane, senior VP merchandising, marketing, advertising and paint. “We constantly look for ways to add value for our customers, and Instant Savings is a major new exclusive benefit to our Ace Rewards loyalty program that does just that.” 

With the launch, Ace Rewards customers no longer have to redeem rebates through the mail and wait the four to six weeks it typically takes for those to be processed.   

To receive Instant Savings offers, customers must simply present their Ace Rewards card at checkout or ask the cashier to lookup their Ace Rewards number by providing their phone number or last name and five-digit zip code. 

The program is free for consumers. It will continue to provide exclusive member benefits, such as 10 points for every $1 spent, a $5 Reward for every 2,500 points earned, money-saving coupons and sale reminders, along with helpful tips and content.

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