DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

Do it Best puts products in focus

BY Ken Clark

Merchandise managers at Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Do it Best Corp. welcomed more than 75 multinational vendors to their corporate office in Fort Wayne, Ind., as the merchandising team looks to bolster its product lineup.

This biannual Buying Day event, held on Nov. 28, brought a flurry of activity to the company’s headquarters, according to Do it Best. 

“We are always looking for ways to further strengthen our product offerings and discover fresh sources of supply for our members,” said Steve Markley, VP merchandising for Do it Best Corp. “This Buying Day event is a great opportunity to meet with potential new vendors, learn more about their products and explore promising and innovative product opportunities for our members. We’re excited about the potential to add newly discovered products to our retail service centers.” 

The Buying Day event was coordinated and promoted by the Home Improvement Industry Presidents Council. Past events at Do it Best Corp. have resulted in the addition of a variety of new products from both stocking and drop-ship vendors into the co-op’s overall product mix.

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Ace store handles Santa’s mail

BY Brae Canlen

Crown Ace Hardware is playing Santa at two of its locations with mailboxes that accept letters addressed to the North Pole. According to an article in the Havasu News, the two stores in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., have been collecting letters written to Santa Claus in special mailboxes outside the stores. Children are asked to include a self-addressed stamped envelope in order to get a personal reply.

As of Nov. 30, the mailboxes had received 38 letters. One child asked for “a big robot and a big robot gun.”

Crown Ace Hardware is a 17-unit chain owned and operated by the Schulein family. Besides the two Arizona locations, Crown Ace operates 15 stores in Southern California.

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Ace reveals second-annual cool-stores list

BY Ken Clark

Ace Hardware Corp. has recognized six member stores with the company’s second-annual “Coolest Hardware Store” awards.

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

• Ace Mountain Hardware and Sports, Truckee, Calif. – Employee-owned Ace Mountain Hardware and Sports, which opened its doors in 1977, has successfully combined multiple retail concepts under one roof for an experience that’s as enticing as the Sierra Nevada Mountains outside its doors.

• Simpson Ace Hardware and Sports, Sumter, S.C. – The Simpsons make sure the product selection of this third-generation hardware store appeals to the entire family. From local team apparel and gifts to fireplaces, kayaks and hunting gear — not to mention hardware store staples like hand tools, power tools and paint — Simpson Ace Hardware and Sports is a one-stop-shop serving the Midlands.

• Intown Ace Hardware, Decatur, Ga. – Intown Ace Hardware’s departments stretch far beyond classic hardware store offerings to offer customers art supplies, toys, kitchen supplies and gifts, all uniquely displayed with the help of vintage appliances and antiques. It’s “small town America” meets modern in the heart of the Atlanta area.

• Crowder Brothers Ace Hardware, Lakewood Ranch, Fla. – The store Ron Crowder opened in the largest green certified planned community in the United States combines a 6,000-sq.-ft. gifts and gadgets store and an 18,000-sq.-ft. hardware store that offers premium home maintenance products alongside Grandma Crowder’s homemade fudge.

• Bomberger’s Store, Lititz, Pa. – The store is a veritable Main Street USA under one roof, complete with a café serving homemade baked goods, a team of nine professional technicians to service lawn and garden equipment and rental equipment, and an in-house remodeling and design team to complement the store’s vast cabinet and countertop offerings.

• Hillcrest Ace Hardware, San Diego –  In addition to hardware staples and robust paint and lawn and garden departments, Hillcrest Ace Hardware sells work of local artists, appliances, pet products and gift items in a welcoming environment that is fun for associates and customers alike.   

“One of the best attributes about Ace Hardware and one of our biggest competitive advantages is the uniqueness of our stores,” said Kane Calamari, VP retail operations and new business at Ace Hardware Corporation. “We applaud all of our winning stores, their owners and staff, for their efforts to provide customers with products and services that fit their communities and ways of life.”

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