10:02 AM

Westlake Ace Hardware Announces CEO Retirement and Appointment

Joe Jeffries assumes role as CEO following retirement of Tom Knox at the end of March

Westlake Ace Hardware announced today that Joe Jeffries has been named president and CEO. Jeffries succeeds Tom Knox, who retired as CEO on March 30.

Knox joined Westlake in 2014, shortly after Ace Hardware Corporation acquired the company in 2013. Prior to joining Westlake, Knox held several leadership roles during his 22-year career with Ace Hardware, and made significant contributions to the company as a primary architect of 20/20 Vision, Ace’s long-term growth strategy.

“Tom is a high caliber executive who brought tremendous value to Ace over the course of his career, and I want to thank him for his servant hearted leadership and unwavering integrity,” said John Venhuizen, president and CEO of Ace Hardware Corporation. “While Tom will certainly be missed, we are excited about the future of Westlake Ace, and confident in the leadership of Joe Jeffries as he assumes the role of CEO.”

Jeffries was previously president and chief operating officer of Westlake. Prior to joining Westlake in 2014, he was CEO of A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts, an arts, crafts and floral merchandise retailer. He has also held management positions with Office Depot and Home Quarters Warehouse.

“It’s an honor to be selected as the new CEO for Westlake Ace,” said Joe Jeffries, president and CEO of Westlake Ace Hardware. “It has been a pleasure working with Tom over the past four years, and I look forward to leading the company as we work together to grow the business and strive to meet the needs of our customers.”

Jeffries becomes CEO during a key growth period in Westlake’s 113-year history:

  • On March 26, Westlake finalized its purchase of The Dennis Company, a five-store retail hardware chain in coastal southwest Washington.
  • In February, the company formally acquired Seaboard Ace Hardware in Raleigh, N.C.
  • In January, the company finalized its acquisition of the seven-store Buikema’s Ace Hardware in the Chicagoland area.

Combined, all three acquisitions have expanded Westlake’s national footprint to 121 stores in 10 states.

Andrew Schmitt has assumed the role of vice president and chief operating officer. Schmitt joined Westlake in 2017 as vice president of operations. Prior to that, he was a director of Retail Operations – Western Division for Ace Hardware. Before joining Ace in 2010, he held finance and procurement positions with Factory Card and Party Outlet and Allstate Insurance Company.


About Westlake Ace Hardware

Westlake has been in operation for more than 100 years and currently has 121 neighborhood hardware stores in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Washington. It has been part of the Ace Hardware Cooperative since 1959 and is its largest member, and a wholly owned Ace subsidiary since 2012. Being part of the Ace family gives Westlake’s customers access to more than 70,000 products — both in-store and by special order—to help them complete numerous household and lawn and garden projects. 

In 2013, Westlake Commercial was created to offer world-class service and a wide array of products to business and trade customers. In addition to free delivery and free in-store charge accounts, Westlake Commercial’s customers have access to more than 800,000 products such as HVAC equipment, plumbing supplies, safety products, commercial lighting, and paint.

Guided by the mission to “make it our business to know your business,” Westlake Commercial is dedicated to finding its customers hard-to-find items, securing large-quantity orders, and offering the most competitive pricing available. For more information about Westlake, please visit https://www.westlakehardware.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 2017, Ace ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Home Improvement Retail Store, Eleven Years in a Row,” according to J.D. Power. With more than 5,000 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 operate an expansive network of distribution centers in the U.S. and also have distribution capabilities in Ningbo, China; Colon, Panama; Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Its retailers’ stores are located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and approximately 55 countries. For more information on Ace, visit acehardware.com or the company newsroom at newsroom.acehardware.com.