DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

True Value gets focused on the farm

BY Ken Clark

When Mike Clark, True Value’s senior VP and chief merchandising officer, talks about growth areas, he points to canning, he points to pet food. He points to strength in these warm times, of anything that moves cool air through a ouse, or moves water around the yard.

But Clark seems most excited about initiatives in farm and ranch. 

Research showed that about 500 to 600 True Value members were involved in one or more of the farm and ranch categories. These categories represented about a third of their businesses, on average. But the members were buying their product somewhere else.

“We have 12 DCs,” Clark said. “These are loyal members. That’s why we believe we can develop warehouse programs to allow them to buy in smaller increments. We can competitively price this product.”

In June 2011, increased its sku count by 200%. The co-op now has more than 10,000 skus available in the key areas of farm ranch, which includes specialty pet and automotive products.

The plan includes regional education meetings with members and a farm and ranch retail council, to provide guidance and feedback on assortment and planograms.

The co-op’s story in farm ranch will be on full display at the Fall Market in Salt Lake City Sept. 21-23.

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Ace names Venhuizen successor to Griffith

BY Ken Clark

Ace Hardware president and CEO Ray Griffith announced his plans to retire from the hardware cooperative on March 31, 2013, and the company’s board of directors has named Ace’s chief operating officer John Venhuizen his successor.

Effective Sept. 1, 2012, Venhuizen assumed the role of president, while retaining his existing chief operating officer duties of Ace Hardware Corp. Griffith will maintain his role as CEO until his retirement.

When Griffith retires in 2013, he will have served as president, CEO or COO for more than eight years, having seen Ace through a period of dramatic change, growth and financial success. Ace’s board of directors and Griffith have developed this succession plan over the past three years, and Venhuizen is their clear choice.  

“Ray’s decision to retire and spend more time with his family has been a deliberate and well thought-out process,” said Ace Hardware chairman of the board David Ziegler. “As part of the company’s succession plan, Ray and the board have worked together on the appropriate timing that is right both for the company and for Ray personally. John has worked side-by-side with Ray for the past 14 years and has unquestionably proven his leadership abilities.”

Since joining the cooperative in 1992, Venhuizen, 42, has served as chief operating officer and as VP business development, retail development, retail training and international. He has led many of the major business units throughout the organization, including supply chain, category management and information technology.

“John has already achieved tremendous success as a leader of this organization,” said Griffith. “He has played a significant role in placing a renewed emphasis on the Ace consumer, always keeping the needs of Ace’s independent retailers in mind.” Additionally, Venhuizen has improved Ace’s store model by identifying the core mix of products that can deliver the most profitable and successful outcome for Ace retailers.”

Griffith joined Ace in 1994 and oversaw several major initiatives as CEO, including the implementation of SAP-enhanced supply chain.

“Ace’s performance has been outstanding under Ray’s leadership and the company is poised for a sound future under John’s leadership — strategically, financially, operationally and from a management perspective” said Ziegler.

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Ace establishes panel of Design Experts

BY Ken Clark

Ace Hardware launched its first-ever panel of Design Experts.

The panel, comprised of three interior designers from different regions across the United States, will provide color and design inspiration for Ace customers.

A big part of the service is to help shoppers through the paint-selection journey. “At Ace, we know paint is personal, it’s not just about mixing a gallon of paint,” said Mary Rice, president and general manager, Ace Paint. “It’s about guiding and validating the customer so that the color they choose is one they will love and feel comfortable with in their home — and that all starts with inspiration.”

Ace’s Design Experts bring more than 30 years of combined experience to the panel, specializing in color and the transformative power it has in design. They are: 

• Katie Reynolds, of Dallas, is the owner and principal designer for Lilli Design LLC, an interior design firm, which specializes in residential design and unique nursery and children’s rooms. Reynolds’ strongest area of expertise is color and using it to create unique spaces around the home.

• Julie Richard, of Boston, is the owner and principal designer for Shelter Interior Design, a full-service design firm specializing in residential and small hospitality interiors. She works closely with her clients to create fresh environments and often recommends adding color to a room for a quick, affordable update.

• Nathan Fischer, of Orange County, Calif., is the owner and principal designer for Stiles Fischer Interior Design, a full-service interior design, decorating and architectural firm. He views color as the key element within each room and believes that adding a pop of color to a wall, ceiling or banister can make the most dramatic and cost effective change within the home. 

Among the experts’ home color picks for the fall are cobalt, navy and royal blue as well as browns with gray undertones.

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