|Founded||Chicago, Illinois, U.S. (1924 )|
|Headquarters||Oak Brook, Illinois, U.S.|
|Number of locations||4,077 (2012)|
|Employees||100,000 (2008 - 4th Qtr.)|
Ace Hardware Corporation is a hardware cooperative based in Oak Brook, Illinois, United States. ACE Hardware Corporation, with 4,077 (2012) stores, does over $3 billion in retail hardware sales annually down from its peak of $12.5 billion in 2007.
Ace Hardware was founded in 1924 by Richard Hesse, E. Gunnard Lindquist, Frank Burke, and Oscar Fisher in Chicago, Illinois. Ace Hardware, incorporated in 1928 as Ace Stores Inc., was founded to provide a centralized purchasing organization to supply the founders' and members' stores. The company was named after the ace fighter pilots of World War I, who were able to overcome all odds. Its retail network expanded to hundreds of dealers by 1949, when annual sales reached about $10 million.
After Hesse retired in 1973, Ace was sold to its retailers, becoming a cooperative, and the headquarters moved to suburban Oak Brook. Independent owners became dealer-owners and shareholders in the company. Because it is a co-op and not a franchise, each Ace Hardware 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 recognizable as an Ace Hardware.
Ace Hardware's long-time slogan The helpful hardware place has been replaced by The helpful place. Another change came when[when?] its 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. In some commercials, he uses football quotes.
Prior to Madden, Suzanne Somers was a spokesperson for Ace Hardware but was dropped because of a previously issued topless poster for Maheraja water skis. 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 in 2005. Hodnik had served as ACE's leader since 1996. David Ziegler serves as Chairman of the Board. ACE Hardware Corporation now does over $3 billion in hardware sales annually and had $12.5 billion in retail sales during 2007.
In 2012, Ace Hardware acquired its largest member, Westlake Ace Hardware, for $88 million.
Overseas shops 
PT. ACE Hardware Indonesia Tbk. (IDX: ACES) has opened the world's largest 14,695 square meter ACE Hardware shop in Living World Mall Alam Sutera, South Tangerang, Indonesia. As of December 2, 2011 there are 52 ACE Hardware shops in Indonesia. The brand is further sold in Barbados, through the chain Dacosta Mannings.
- Ace Hardware Releases 1st Quarter 2012 Results
- "Ace Hardware accounting off by $154 million". Associated Press. 5 Sept. 2007.
- Westlake Ace Hardware sells for $88M
- "Ace hardware Opens 7th Store". December 2, 2011.
- About US, Dacosta Mannings