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Kate Kirkpatrick
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Anna Wyrwas
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Oak Brook, Ill.,
01
April
2015

Ace Hardware announces groundbreaking Ace Center for Excellence

New division inspires businesses to Amaze Every Customer Every Time

Ace Hardware, the largest retailer-owned hardware cooperative in the world, today announces the launch of its Ace Center for Excellence, a new division designed to share the strategies and key principles of the brand’s unparalleled commitment to customer service with businesses and organizations around the world. The Center’s goal is to help companies improve upon their customer experience based on Ace’s award-winning approach through customized solutions, such as keynotes and workshops.

The Ace Center for Excellence was inspired by Amaze Every Customer Every Time, a book written by Customer Service Expert and New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best Selling Author, Shep Hyken. Amaze Every Customer Every Time describes how businesses can learn from Ace’s fluency in customer service to achieve the same level of satisfaction with their customers.

“Ace Hardware has set the standard in customer service and the launch of The Ace Center for Excellence is a perfect way for Ace to share their award-winning knowledge with other companies looking to improve upon their customer service best practices,” said Hyken. “It will be thrilling to watch as the Ace team empowers other businesses to amaze each of their customers, every time.”

The Ace Center for Excellence has comprised a team, not of outside speakers, but rather the actual Ace team who has been living the brand’s promise to inspire and educate business associates in the way that Ace Hardware associates strive for every day, guiding them towards excellence in customer service and overall business reputation. Ace Hardware President and CEO John Venhuizen, Executive Vice President Merchandising, Marketing and Sales, John Surane, Ray Griffith, former President/CEO of Ace Hardware, Art Freedman, internationally known speaker and Ace Hardware Store Owner of 25 years, and Gina Schaefer, passionate entrepreneur and owner of nine Ace Hardware stores, will deliver customized workshops and keynotes to inspire the same dedication Ace has for providing amazing customer service and ultimately improving the business’s bottom line. Customized keynotes and workshops include:

  • Developing a customized action plan to operationalize and improve customer service as it relates to the brand’s promise
  • Assisting in building a company culture around a customer-first mindset
  • Teaching employees how to amaze customers through stellar service
  • Inspiring employees at all levels to lead and realize the impact they have on the business

“I must confess, my initial reaction to this new initiative was, ‘Who are we to tell other companies what to do?’ But I’ve learned this initiative is driven by necessity not hubris,” said Venhuizen. “Eight years ago, J.D. Power and Associates started measuring customer satisfaction in the home improvement category and Ace has been fortunate to win the top spot every single year. After receiving countless solicitations from folks who simply asked, ‘How does Ace do it?’; we decided it was time to share our principles and practices behind our nearly irrational pursuit of amazing service.”

Ace’s Center for Excellence will bring to life Ace Hardware’s core values of helpful service in customized best practices that can be adapted and applied to fit any business or industry environment. For more information on The Ace Center for Excellence and how to schedule a workshop and/or keynote, please visit www.acecenterforexcellence.com.

About Ace Hardware

For more than 90 years, Ace Hardware has been known as the place with the helpful hardware folks in thousands of neighborhoods across America, providing customers with a more personal kind of helpful. In 2014, Ace ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Home Improvement Retail Stores, Eight Years in a Row,” according to J.D. Power. With more than 4,800 hardware stores locally owned and operated across the globe, Ace is the largest retailer-owned hardware cooperative in the world. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill., Ace and its subsidiaries currently operate 17 distribution centers in the U.S. and also have distribution capabilities in Shanghai, China; Panama City, Panama; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Its retailers' stores are located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and approximately 60 countries. For more information on Ace, visit www.acehardware.com.