Ace continues splash in paint department

BY Ken Clark

Orlando, Fla. — First came a roll out of Clark & Kensington private label paint. Next came a blockbuster deal with Valspar. And now comes the introduction and unveiling of the Paint Studio, the new brand for Ace Hardware’s self-described “Paint Reinvention” program.

It’s all part of Ace Hardware’s efforts to get relevant and make noise in the retail paint arena, said John Surane, senior VP merchandising, marketing and sales.

“We are going to launch the Paint Studio across the nation in May 2014 in a very big way,” Surane told the General Session audience during the Ace Hardware Fall Convention & Exhibits here at the Orange County Convention Center.

“We’re not interested in being a small player, and being less relevant than the other guys,” Surane said.

In the next seven months Ace is hoping to bring the Paint Studio format to some 3,000 stores. 

Market share has moved from about 4% is about 6.4%, “but we’re just getting warmed up.” Grabbing paint business market share becomes more difficult as the co-op moves closer to its goal of 10%.  

With Valspar’s support, the Ace paint team is fueling its paint store makeover with $75 million investment in stores to launch the paint studio. 

Surane said it won’t be easy. “There’s going to be problems and issues, but you have a support team that’s going to help you through those,” he said.

The Paint Studio is branded with a four-sided overhead sign that brands the store within the store as “the Paint Studio” and the tagline “dream in color.”

It also included 8-foot color displays of Clark + Kensington on one side, and Valspar on the other. A center gondola endcap serves up promotional graphics and an optional video screen.

Ace has collected 2,375 completed agreement forms with retailers to start the process toward the store-remodeling program, Surane said.

Ace says it will spend $25 million just in paint in 2014 beginning in May. “I’m pretty sure we’re going to reach a lot of customers,” he said.



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