Happy Memorial Day from your local Ace Hardware store.
Local? What do you mean, Brad? Isn’t Ace Hardware just another chain?
No, Ace Hardware stores are not chain stores.
Ace Hardware stores are all part of a dealer-owned cooperative buying group. Huh? Yes, it’s a bit confusing. You see, in 1924 a bunch of hardware stores in the Chicago area got together and formed a coop to help them source products. They all bought a bit of the company and named it Ace Hardware. They shared a warehouse, trucks to deliver goods and eventually the name on the store front. This helped them buy better, compete in the marketplace and gave them better customer support. Flash forward to 2017 and Ace Hardware has grown to be the world’s leading hardware wholesale coop, having just opened our 5000th store! Each store buys a small part of the company and the company works for the stores. The stores in your neighborhood are not corporate-owned chain stores or franchises. There’s nobody in a glass tower in some big city telling your neighborhood store what to do or when to do it.
Great, Brad, but what does that mean to me?
That means that your neighborhood store is owned and/or operated by your neighbors. That means that your store has the freedom to stock what they want and run their store the way they want. That’s why you’ll see so many differences from store to store. Each one is owned by a local entrepreneur who wanted to start a business in their back yard for their community. Each store is owned by someone who had an idea, a hobby, an interest and wanted to turn it in to a business and help others with the same passion.
Now, for the record, there are store owners who own multiple locations across the Rocky Mountain region. These really aren’t much different, just that these store owners had the opportunity to expand and felt like purchasing more stores.
So when you’re shopping at Ace Hardware you are shopping local. Your money stays local and supports local communities. Your friends and neighbors benefit directly from your shopping at Ace Hardware stores. The money you spend revolves around your community, helps support other local businesses, and likely comes back around and helps support yourself! So Ace is not only the helpful place, but the local place!
Is Ace the only coop that operates this way? No, there are others. In the Colorado area there are Do It Best and True Value stores that are similar. However, True Value and Ace Hardware are completely separate businesses. They operate much the same way, and over the years there has been ongoing confusion since some stores have converted back and forth. Just remember, if you want a true value, you have to shop at Ace Hardware!
Thanks for shopping locally, and next time you’re in, tell them Brad Nale sent you.