<== Store of the Day for 2017-11-21 ==>
Ace Hardware is a retail cooperative based that was founded in 1931 with head quarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, U.S. The company celebrated the opening of its 5,000th store in August 2017.
A retail cooperative is slightly different from a typical franchise. In a typical franchise, the franchiser owns a concept which it licenses to franchisees. In the coop structure, the central store is owned by the local businesses.
Because the distribution channel is owned by the local stores, the distribution channel becomes more responsive to the local stores.
The other great thing about this structure is that it gives local stores more autonomy. The local stores vary substantially from town to town. Some Ace Hardware stores are embedded in lumber yards and cater to the construction industry. Other Ace Hardware stores are on Main Street and cater to the home market.
Each Ace store has a different inventory. An interesting side result of this structure is the distribution channel and web site lists thousands of items that you can order online and pick up at the local store.
The actually inventory available at AceHardware.com is actually larger than the hardware superstores.