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Ace receives $10,000 for eco initiatives

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Ace Hardware will receive a $10,000 grant from the Sacremento, Calif.-area Placer County Air Pollution District to help fund continued testing of pallet trucks powered by zero-emission hydrogen fuel cells.

The trucks are based out of Ace’s Retail Support Center in Sacremento. The 1,028,000-square-foot facility represents the co-op’s second largest distribution center in size and volume. Testing for the initiative began in February, according to a press release issued by Placer County. Initial testing consisted of replacing lead-acid batteries with hydrogen fuel cells.

“We’re encouraged by the initial findings and anxious to see the complete test results to determine the viability of expanding the use of this hydrogen fuel cell technology in this and other facilities,” said Bill Bauman, vp-retail support for Ace Hardware.

In 2005, Ace began testing biodiesel fuel — an 80/20 mix of vegetable oil and diesel fuel — in several tractors in its Midwestern fleet. Today, Ace uses biodiesel in the entire fleet for its Retail Support Center located in Princeton, Ill., and has plans to roll it out to several other distribution centers across the country.

Other environmental initiatives by Ace have included installing energy-efficient T5 lighting in the majority of its distribution centers and reducing volatile organic compounds in private-label paint products sold at retail.

Also on the consumer side, Ace developed “Helpful Earth Choices,” a labeling program meant to help customers identify environmentally friendly products and sustainable items.

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Wal-Mart Canada pays out record bonuses

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Wal-Mart Canada store associates are marking a successful fiscal 2007 by sharing a record $45.4 million in bonus payments, based on company and store goals, according to the retailer.

“This represents the company’s greatest bonus payout in its 14-year history,” the retailer said in a statement.

Wal-Mart Canada began a bonus program in 1994 when the retailer took over the country’s Woolco stores. This year, 242 of 299 stores nationwide paid bonuses to eligible part- and full-time associates under the program — “an average reward was nearly $1,000,” according to the company.

“In keeping with a policy of open communication, Wal-Mart store management shares detailed sales and profitability progress figures with store associates daily,” the statement said. “This year’s record bonus payment reflects Wal-Mart Canada’s success in a year in which it responded to significant industry challenges”

Successful initiatives included responding quickly to the higher Canadian dollar with lower prices and keeping stores opened “around the clock” in the lead-up to Christmas.

“Pricing and operational strategies, the continued growth of our supercentre program, marketing campaigns promoting our price leadership and many other factors brought customers to our stores last year,” said Jim Thompson, Wal-Mart Canada’s senior vp-operations. “However, it was our store associates that delivered a phenomenal performance in a tough year for retail.”

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Menards plans new southern Ohio location

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Menards plans to build a new 144,107-square-foot store in Hamilton, Ohio, according to a report in the Oxford (Ohio) Press.

The Menards store is in the initial stages of zoning approval in Fairfield Township, Ohio. Current plans call for the Menards to anchor a 52.8-acre shopping center.

According to the report, the retailer was eyeing a smaller site, but halted that plan because of annexation issues between two local municipalities. The new store is “35 percent larger” than in that previous plan.

Ohio has been a growth spot for the big-box retailer — other new stores in the state are located in Mansfield, Lancaster and Marion.

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