Ace Actively Fueling Store Growth
Ace Hardware is a sleeper in the franchise world—much bigger than many people would suspect with nearly $15 billion in annual global sales, nearly 4,500 U.S. locations and a No. 6 ranking in the Franchise Times Top 200+ list of the largest franchisors. As it seeks to fuel additional growth, Ace announced a new financing program to help owners scale up.
As announced by the company, Ace Hardware’s new financing program gives qualified store owners access to up to $200,000 in a dollar-for-dollar equity match loan for opening a new ground-up store or to acquire a competitor’s store.
With plenty of aging locations—with similarly aging first-generation owners—such a program makes perfect sense to give existing owners looking to transition out of the business additional options if they’re not passing the business down to family or friends.
Amounts borrowed under this program do not need to be repaid in cash, according to the company release. Instead, the loans can be repaid immediately using the owner's existing Ace Hardware Corporation stock or over time using future non-cash patronage distributions.
“Ace Hardware store owners now have even more resources to help them achieve their goals of expanding their businesses,” said Dan Miller, vice president, retail operations and new business, Ace Hardware Corporation. “In the last three years, new ground-up stores at Ace have reported a nearly 99 percent success rate, and the average store is yielding sales per square foot of $138 per foot in their first year—it’s an exciting time to be growing with Ace.”
As a privately held, retailer-owned cooperative, Ace Hardware store owners are the exclusive shareholders of the company. A percentage of all wholesale goods purchased by an Ace store through the Ace Hardware supply chain is returned to the owner annually in the form of a patronage dividend—a combination of cash and Ace Hardware Corporation stock. Over time, Ace owners acquire a significant amount of Ace stock and with this financing program they can use that stock to repay their loan. Ace stores who qualify for and choose to participate in the program will be able to grow more aggressively because they can tap into the equity of their existing stock.
The new financing program is available to qualified, existing Ace owners with two or more stores, and all Pinnacle-achieving Ace retailers, both single-store and multi-store owners. Pinnacle is the highest level of store performance that an Ace Hardware store can achieve; to earn Pinnacle Performance retailing status, an Ace store must successfully complete a number of key performance drivers that will help them provide a better overall shopping experience in their local community.