Company Snapshot: Ace Hardware Corp.
2200 Kensington Ct.
Oak Brook, IL 60523-2100
Total Annual Sales:
David Ziegler- Chairman of the Board
John Venhuizen- President, CEO
Ace is the perennial leader of the hardware cooperative segment of the industry. As a co-op the company boasts of its loyal member retailers who represent its entire client base. Of course, as co-op members, retailers are rewarded based on the volume of their annual purchases from Ace.
Recently Ace Hardware reported its annual financials. Sales improved to $4,154.3 billion, up from $3,840.9 billion from 2012, for an 8.2% increase. As the category leader for the industry, Ace has managed annual sales increases each of the past four years, after two consecutive declines brought on by the recession.
In December of 2012, Ace made headlines by acquiring its most prominent retail member, Westlake Hardware. These were and remain the co-op’s only stores which are actually company owned. At the time of the acquisition, speculation arose as to whether Ace was entering a new phase of its business.
At the time of the transaction, Ace stated that this was a unique acquisition and that the retailer’s management team would remain intact and independent. While this seems to be essentially true, In January 2014, Ace appointed Tom Knox as Westlake’s President and CEO. Previously, Knox had been VP Retail Business Development, Training and Supply at Ace’s corporate headquarters. While Mr. Knox seems to have an excellent background to oversee Ace’s number one retailer, his appointment is tailor made for Ace’s corporate interests.
Just a month ago Ace announced another acquisition. This, however, did not involve a retailer. Ace acquired Emery-Waterhouse, a 170 year old distributor of hardlines products and a profit minded stalwart of the industry. Here, Ace announced that this acquisition is intended to benefit members with an additional dedicated, efficient source of product for its co-op affiliates.