Quick Business Facts
Founded: 1924
Franchising Since: 1976
Corporate Office: 2200 Kensington Ct.
Oak Brook, IL 60523
Industries: , , ,
Resources: » Consumer Information

About Ace Hardware

For more than 90 years, Ace Hardware has been known as the place with the helpful hardware folks in thousands of neighborhoods across America, providing customers with a more personal kind of helpful. In 2016, Ace ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Home Improvement Retail Stores, Ten Years in a Row," according to J.D. Power. With more than 4,900 hardware stores locally owned and operated across the globe, Ace is the largest retailer-owned hardware cooperative in the world. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill., Ace and its subsidiaries currently operate 17 distribution centers in the U.S. and also have distribution capabilities in Ningbo, China; Colon, Panama; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Its retailers' stores are located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and approximately 60 countries.

Company History

Ace Hardware is a hardware store that was formed in 1924 by Richard Hesse, E. Gunnard Lindquist, Frank Burke and Oscar Fisher in Chicago, Illinois. The company became a cooperative in 1973. By 1976 Ace became a retailers' cooperative. Independent owners became dealer-owners and shareholders in the company. Because it's a co-op and not a franchise, each Ace store looks different. Ace has placed a focus on Ace stores exhibiting some similar characteristics, such as signaled and core product lines. The Vision 21 program, as this is called, is aimed to make all stores look identical. This is causing much resistance from the smaller stores because of the cost of the program.

As of 2005, the $13 billion retail hardware cooperative contains over 4,600 independent stores throughout the United States and in 70 different countries. Ace Hardware was named after the Ace fighter pilots of World War I, who were able to overcome all odds.

Their long-time slogan — The helpful hardware place — has been replaced by The helpful place. Another change came when their longtime jingle — "Ace is the place with the helpful hardware man" — was modified with the more gender-neutral "folks" replacing "man." Much of their advertising since 1987 features John Madden, a former NFL coach and announcer. Prior to John Madden, Suzanne Somers was a spokesperson for Ace Hardware but was dropped because of a previously issued topless poster for an unknown sporting goods brand. Home improvement expert Lou Manfredini currently serves as ACE's "Helpful Hardware Man" and media spokesperson.

Ray Griffith currently serves as the President and CEO of ACE Hardware Corporation and has served in that position since taking over for Dave Hodnik. Hodnik had served as ACE's leader since 1996. Tom Glenn serves as Chairman of the Board. ACE Hardware Corporation now does over $3 billion in hardline sales and $100 million in net profits.

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Ace Hardware »

Throughout its 80-year history, Ace Hardware has been known as the helpful hardware store by both customers and communities.

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