By Frank Lewis
December 31, 2013
PDT Staff Writer
You have seen them on car commercials as well as commercials for other nationally advertised products, but now you can see one up close and personal. The Ace Hardware J.D. Power Awards are coming to Vandervort’s in Portsmouth and Wheelersburg this Saturday.
“Seven years ago, J.D. Power added a classification for hardware stores,” Chip Horr, of Vandervort’s, said. “And Ace Hardware has won it every year compared to all other national chain hardware stores.”
J.D. Power and Associates is an American-based global marketing information services firm founded in 1968 by James David Power III. The firm conducts surveys of customer satisfaction, product quality, and buyer behavior for industries ranging from cars to marketing and advertising firms. Ace Hardware received the highest numerical score among retail stores in the proprietary J.D. Power and Associates 2013 Home Improvement Retail Store Study. The study based on responses from 4,129 consumers measuring six stores and opinions of consumers who purchased a home improvement product or service within the previous 12 months. The proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of consumers surveyed January-February 2013.
To celebrate the seven years of J.D. Power Awards they have received, Ace Hardware is taking the awards on a tour of 120 of their 4,700 stores. The Ace Hardware chain is made up of locally-owned stores such as Vandervort’s, which has locations in Portsmouth and Wheelersburg.
“It is more personal,” Horr said. “You’re dealing with your guy across the street. We make the decisions. Ace is a powerful buying group. They have enormous support. If we have questions about a certain product or are trying to find something, but everything is totally locally-controlled. If they (Ace hardware) have a program that they are promoting, and we choose not to do it, we don’t have to do it. We are completely autonomous.”
Horr said every year the local company gets stock in the Ace Hardware company.
“The only people who own Ace Hardware are the local stores,” Horr said. “So it’s totally store-owned. Even the corporation officers cannot own stock, unless they own a store. So it’s totally locally-controlled. Whether we carry fireplaces or somebody else carries snowblowers and somebody else carries swimming pools, it is up to the local store.”
Horr gave an example of individual store merchandising decisions.
“I’m not sure there’s many Ace Hardware stores that carry 60 different kinds of Keurig coffee. We do. Because that is what people came in here and requested,” Horr said. “So we added it. We carry the Keurig coffeemaker and 60 different coffee flavors. As a matter of fact, we were one of the first stores to do that.”
Horr said, in honor of the appearance of the J.D. Power trophies, both Vandervort’s stores will be having a sale.
“It’s going to be a 20 percent off sale,” Horr said. “And they (Ace Hardware) is coming in and setting up all seven trophies.”
He said the trophies will be at Vandervort’s Ace Hardware Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon at the Portsmouth location, and from 1-3 p.m. at the Wheelersburg store.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or firstname.lastname@example.org.