Ace Hardware: The Helpful Hardware Haven Turns 100 Stores

2 min read

This year, Ace Hardware celebrates a century of empowering do-it-yourselfers and home improvement enthusiasts. From its humble beginnings in 1924 as a group of Chicago hardware stores banding together.

Ace Hardware has grown into a global cooperative with over 5,700 locations.

The story of Ace is one of resilience and adaptation. Founded by Richard Hesse, E. Gunnard Lindquist, Frank Burke, and Oscar Fisher, the company adopted the name “Ace” after the daring fighter pilots of World War I, reflecting their own determination to succeed.

Following World War II, Ace saw a boom in sales, mirroring the rise of the American suburbs and the “do-it-yourself” movement. However, a turning point came in 1973 when founder Richard Hesse retired. Instead of selling to a large corporation, Ace took a unique path – becoming a retailer-owned cooperative. This empowered individual store owners and fostered a collaborative spirit that continues to define the company today.

Over the decades, Ace has not only expanded its reach but also embraced changing customer needs. The introduction of the iconic “Helpful Hardware Man” personified their commitment to exceptional customer service. The 1989 update to their jingle, replacing “man” with the more inclusive “folks,” reflected their evolving approach.

Today, Ace Hardware is a global phenomenon. From the Philippines to the Middle East, their stores offer a vast array of hardware supplies, paint, tools, and gardening essentials. Their commitment to local ownership fosters a deep understanding of community needs, ensuring Ace remains a trusted neighborhood resource.

As Ace Hardware(Wikipedia) embarks on its next century, one thing remains certain: their dedication to empowering customers and fostering a culture of helpfulness will continue to be the ace up their sleeve.


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