Ace Hardware

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Ace Hardware Corporation
Retailers' cooperative
Founded Chicago, Illinois, U.S. (1924 (1924))
Headquarters Oak Brook, Illinois, U.S.
Number of locations
Over 4,600 (2015)[1]
Area served
Number of employees
~86,000 (2015)[1]
Slogan "The Helpful Place"

The Ace Hardware Corporation is a retailers' cooperative based in Oak Brook, Illinois, United States. As of 2015, it has over 4,600 locations, and does over $13 billion in retail hardware sales annually.[2]


Ace Hardware was founded in 1924 by Richard Hesse, E. Gunnard Lindquist, Frank Burke, Oscar Fisher, and William Stauber in Chicago, Illinois. Ace Hardware, incorporated in 1927 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,[3] 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. However, 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 at making all stores recognizable as an Ace Hardware location.

Ace Hardware's long-time slogan The helpful hardware place has been replaced by The helpful place. Another change came in 1989, when its longtime jingle—"Ace is the place with the helpful hardware man"—was modified, replacing "man" with the more accurate "folks".[4] Celebrities Connie Stevens (from 1974 to 1978) and Suzanne Somers (from 1979 into the early 80s) did TV commercials for Ace Hardware; and since 1987, former NFL coach and NFL commentator John Madden did their commercials. In some of the commercials, Madden used some of his famous football quotes.

Home improvement expert Lou Manfredini serves as Ace's "Helpful Hardware Man" and media spokesperson.

John Venhuizen is the President and CEO of Ace Hardware Corporation and has served in that position since taking over for Ray Griffith in 2013. 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.[5]

Overseas shops[edit]

Pt. Ace Hardware Indonesia Tbk. (IDXACES) has opened the world's largest Ace Hardware shop, 14,695 square metres (158,180 sq ft), in Living World Mall Alam Sutera, South Tangerang, Indonesia.[6][7] On December 2, 2011 there were 52 Ace Hardware shops in Indonesia.[8] Ace Hardware comprises 28 branches in Israel. The brand is also sold in Barbados, through the chain Dacosta Mannings.[9] The chain has stores all over the Philippines, owned by SM Supermalls usually inside shopping malls, includes Ace Hardware store at Maldives.


In 2010, Tim-Br Mart Group entered into an agreement to acquire licensing rights to the Ace brand name in Canada and appointed Eddie Durocher, as national director of the Ace brand.[10]

The deal included two hardware distribution operations formerly the assets of CanWel Hardware and also provided Tim-Br Marts Ltd. ownership of the ‘Pro’ name plus licensing rights to the ‘Ace’ brand name in Canada. Financing for the transaction was provided by HSBC.[11]



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