Ace Hardware acquires Emery-Waterhouse, distributor of hardlines products for independent lumber, paint, industrial, hardware outlets; Emery-Waterhouse will be independently operated, majority-owned Ace subsidiary, help Ace leverage wholesale buying power

OAK BROOK, Illinois , February 20, 2014 (press release) – Ace Hardware becomes majority owner of New England-based hardlines distributor

Ace Hardware Corporation, the largest retailer-owned hardware cooperative in the industry, announced today that it has acquired Emery-Waterhouse; a profitable 170-year-old distributor of hardlines products for independent lumber, paint, industrial and hardware outlets.

Emery-Waterhouse will move forward as an independently operated, majority-owned subsidiary of Ace Hardware. The Emery-Waterhouse brand will continue operations as a separate business with a distinct management team that provides wholesale distribution services to independent retailers.

The experienced leadership team of Emery-Waterhouse will remain and continue to manage the business; including Steve Frawley, CEO and Don Dickson, COO. Emery-Waterhouse’s long-time majority owner, Charlie Hildreth, will continue to have a presence in the organization.

“The acquisition of Emery-Waterhouse serves as a tremendous catalyst to leverage wholesale purchasing power,” said John Venhuizen, President and CEO, Ace Hardware Corporation. “We are confident that both Ace retailers and Emery-Waterhouse customers will benefit from the additional scale and expanded assortments.”

“As a leader in the hardlines wholesale distribution industry, aligning with Ace Hardware – the nation’s largest convenience hardware leader at wholesale and at retail – simply makes good business sense,” said Steve Frawley, CEO, Emery-Waterhouse. “Knowing that we are part of a changing and consolidating industry, this is the right decision for Emery-Waterhouse and our customers.”

“The Ace team is very excited to join hands with Emery-Waterhouse. Both companies have been successful with foundations built on excellent wholesale distribution and cultures built around customer service.” Venhuizen said, “My belief continues to be that Ace has two options as our industry evolves and consolidates; we can do nothing and hope the chips fall our way, or we can participate as a leader to shape our industry for the long-term benefit of Ace shareholders. As the current leader and largest hardlines wholesale distributor in the nation, our Board of Director’s and Officer Team’s preference is to lead.”

About Ace Hardware

For 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 2013, Ace ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Home Improvement Retail Stores, Seven 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 hardware cooperative in the industry. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill., Ace and its subsidiaries currently operate 14 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.

About Emery-Waterhouse

Established in 1842, Emery-Waterhouse is a leading independent hardlines wholesale distributor of home improvement and building products to customers throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Emery-Waterhouse has helped customers grow their business and meet the needs of their customers with professionally focused brands, personalized service and exceptional industry expertise.

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