How Ace Hardware Continues to Be the Helpful Hardware Place

by Katie Sawyer, 2 minutes read
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Founded in 1924 by a small group of Chicago hardware store owners, Ace has changed the way retailers do business and the way customers shop. With more than 70% of U.S. households within 15 minutes of an Ace Hardware store and more than 5,300 total locations worldwide, odds are you’ve been to an Ace store.

Ace is known as “the helpful place” and strives to provide a hyper-convenient, high-quality shopping experience for every customer, every time they visit a store. Ace’s commitment to service, quality, and convenience sets them apart from the rest and is something that is core to the company’s values.

Each year, Ace recognizes top stores for outstanding performance with a highly-coveted “Pinnacle Performance” designation. To receive Ace’s highest retailer recognition, stores must meet stringent requirements, be laser-focused on customers, and deliver on Ace’s “helpful” promise day in and day out.

Read on to see what Ace does to maintain their quality standards.

1. Hire based on core values

A key ingredient to success in today’s retail environment is customer happiness. While sales are important, aiming for A+ customer service delivered by quality hires should be a priority. That’s why the majority of top-performing Ace stores stick to a “three C’s” philosophy: character, confidence, and chemistry.

  • Character: What principles does the employee have? Are they trustworthy? Honest? Responsible? Are they willing to be flexible and step up to meet the growing needs of the team?
  • Confidence: Do they have confidence in themselves? In the store? In their team?
  • Chemistry: How well do they work with their team? Do they make meaningful contributions or do they detract from the overall success?

The “three C’s” stand as a gut check to make sure the store is building the right team. If any of these are off-balance, it’s a good sign that the employee might not be a good fit for the store.

2. Employ energetic and driven leaders

You’ve heard it before. Employees don’t leave bad jobs — they leave bad managers.

Ace stores that lead the pack tend to look for leaders that know how to learn from the past, build for the future, and energize their team. In short: these leaders should be your “hype” team. They go beyond talking the talk. These leaders need to be able to execute — and build a team that carries out the store strategy.

3. Celebrate tradition

Each time a new Ace store opens its doors, the Ace Hardware community celebrates. But they don’t just celebrate the new stores.

Upholding tradition is just as important. In fact, many Ace stores are family-run businesses that have been handed down from generation to generation. Recognizing the rich history of these small businesses and celebrating their milestones is what makes Ace special.

Many of those top-performing Ace stores focus on people, performance, and ways to continually improve for future growth.

Move on up (to the top sales side)

You don’t have to have the biggest budget, the largest team, or the newest integrations to be successful. When in doubt, choose quality over quantity.

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