Ace Hardware goes all in on neighborhood stores

A boom in home remodeling has put the spotlight on strong sales at home improvement chains like Home Depot and Lowe’s, but Ace Hardware Corp., headquartered in suburban Chicago, also is seeing rising sales and revenues at its retailer-owned stores. President and CEO John Venhuizen, 46, joined the company’s marketing department in 1992. What’s kept him at “The Helpful Place”? Venhuizen said he likes that Ace – despite its claim to be the world’s largest hardware cooperative – still has an underdog mindset. “We duke it out with some of the world’s best retailers, mostly with small family businesses,” he said. In a recent interview with the Chicago Tribune, Venhuizen talked about why he thinks there’s still room for local, neighborhood stores. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.


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