September 29, 2011 // Franchising.com // OAK BROOK, Ill. – Ace Hardware Corporation has selected Suffolk, Va., for the company's new 336,000-square-foot Import Re-Distribution Center (RDC). The facility will allow the nation's leading hardware cooperative to reduce import and logistics costs and provide an even higher level of service to East Coast retailers, making it possible for Ace stores to more effectively respond to consumer needs dictated by hurricanes and other weather emergencies in the region.
Ace will be the first tenant to occupy space in the 900-acre CenterPoint Intermodal Center, located at 1006 CenterPoint Drive, which can accommodate up to 5.8 million square feet of industrial facilities. Construction is scheduled for completion May 1, 2012.
The new Import RDC will receive international goods arriving at the Port of Virginia. Ace executives considered the Panamax – which expands the Panama Canal and is scheduled for completion in 2014 – an added incentive to selecting the location. Panamax will allow larger container vessels easier access to East Coast ports, further lowering land-transportation costs.
″We investigated several cities along the Gulf and East Coasts to find the ideal location that will allow us to lower costs and provide optimum service to our retailers,″ said Lori Bossmann, senior vice president; supply chain & retail support. ″Suffolk is only 30 miles from the Port of Virginia, which is the most modern port in the United States. We also have the capabilities to expand our new facility up to 500,000 square feet in order to accommodate future needs and anticipated growth.″
With its new RDC, Ace also will contribute to the Suffolk-area economy through the creation of up to 75 new full-time jobs. Ace Hardware already operates an 800,000- square-foot Retail Support Center (RSC) in Prince George, Va., that employs approximately 275 employees. This RSC receives and warehouses product shipments from thousands of manufacturers. The products are sorted to fill customized orders received from retailers and then shipped to those stores.
″We're confident that the Ace Hardware Import Re-Distribution Center in Suffolk will allow us to more efficiently ship goods to our East Coast retailers – and ensure that they will be able to continue providing superior service to their customers,″ said Tim Duvall, supply chain director for Ace. ″We're grateful for the exceptional cooperation of state and local officials and the strong Virginia business climate that have made this new facility possible.″
In a statement released by the Commonwealth of Virginia, Governor Bob McDonnell said, ″This is tremdendous validation for the City of Suffolk and the entire Hampton Roads region as a center of international trade. I am extremely pleased that Ace Hardware Corporation has recognized the world-class capabilities of Virginia's premier transportation system that includes the Port of Virginia, one of the largest intermodal networks on the East Coast.″
For more than 85 years, Ace Hardware has been known as the helpful hardware store in thousands of communities across America. Customers depend on Ace to help them take care of their homes quickly and easily so they can get on with their lives. In 2011, Ace ranked ″Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Home Improvement Stores for the Fifth Consecutive Year,″ according to J.D. Power and Associates. With 4,500 locally owned and operated hardware stores, Ace is the largest hardware cooperative in the industry. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill., Ace currently operates 14 distribution centers in the U.S. It also has distribution capabilities in Shanghai, China; Panama City, Panama; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Its retailers' stores are located in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. For more information on Ace, visit www.acehardware.com.