Ace CEO rallies suppliers

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Ace CEO rallies suppliers

By HBSDealer Staff - 03/23/2020
There are a lot of questions about business these days. But there’s no doubt about one thing, says John Venhuizen, CEO of Ace Hardware Corp.: Hardware stores are essential to their communities.

The CEO of the Oak Brook, Ill,-based co-op, in a letter to suppliers, described the steps taken by authorities to enforce social distancing. He stressed: “I need you to know that in every single instance, hardware stores have been declared essential,” he wrote. “That is the key point of my communication to you; Ace Hardware stores are essential to the communities they serve during this crisis!”

John Venhuizen

Venhuizen said his message wasn’t intended to be self serving – “Ace is working with a broad coalition of retailers including the NRHA, Home Depot and Lowe’s to keep product flowing to and for this essential channel.”

Here is the text of Venhuizen’s letter to suppliers:

"You don’t need some flowery introduction from me to understand the severity of the pandemic and its implications on human lives around the world.  In increasing measure, governmental authorities are issuing stay-at-home recommendations for citizens and required closures of “non-essential” operations for business. I need you to know that in every single instance, hardware stores have been declared essential. That is the key point of my communication to you; Ace Hardware stores are essential to the communities they serve during this crisis!

"The logical implication of this is obvious and important – and that is this: Because hardware stores have been declared essential…you are essential!  Our communities need Ace, and Ace needs you.  I’m well aware of the operational pressures this crisis has placed upon you.  And of course the protection, health and safety of our and your people is priority number one. My note is designed to convey, in as strong of a voice as I can muster, that you are an essential part of an essential supply chain. I’m asking for support from the top, steady supply and continued shipments that are on-time and in-full so we can collectively fulfill our essential mission.

"And please understand, this is not some self-serving attempt to create value for Ace at the expense of our competitors. It’s quite the opposite.  We are working with a broad coalition of retailers including the NRHA, Home Depot and Lowe’s to keep product flowing to and for this essential channel.  You are an important link to ensure we can continue to serve our neighbors in their time of need.  All hardware and home improvement retailers are essential.  To fulfill our calling, we need your fully functioning operations."