Ace Hardware Corporation is the franchisor. The company is a wholesaler distributor of hardware and related products. The franchisor offers retail store business under the "Ace Hardware" name. In the US, Ace operates as a cooperative owned by a retailer.
After the franchisee purchases its shares, the franchisor will grant the franchisee membership in the cooperative if he approves the franchisee's application for membership. Membership gives the right to the franchisee to purchase goods and services from the franchisor.
Franchisees can offer rental services in their Ace store called “Ace Rental Place”. If Franchisees own and operate an existing separate business, such as a grocery store, they can add the Ace Hardware store to or within the existing business as a so-called “grocery format.” Only those franchisees who acquired a separate franchise Ace Handyman Services from Ace Handyman Franchising, Inc can offer handyman services or other in-home services under Ace trademark.
Franchisees must attend and complete the New Owners Institute training program. Training will be held at the franchisor’s headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois. The training program developed for new franchisees and best practices, tools and resources, including Ace support systems, best practices and essential management tools for finance, inventory, loss prevention, marketing and promotions, human resources, store environment. Membership Agreement does not grant training programs for franchisees.
Depending upon the subject matter, The Retail Training department schedules its training sessions and coordinates the selection of trainers, workshop facilitators. Its experienced employees, as well as outside experts, depending upon the subject matter can provide those training. The Retail Training Department is constantly striving to improve and develop training offerings, both online and instructor-led.
Training can be held at the franchisor's headquarters or in selected regions, in stores, and at annual conventions. Management and Leadership, Retail Operations, Selling Skills and Customer Service, as well as select product and project training included in the training program. Periodically the franchisor schedules training and seminars for selected retailers and groups of retailers. At spring and autumn conventions, the franchisor conducts training and masterclasses on topics of interest to shop owners and managers.
Territory Granted: The franchisor does not grant any exclusive territory. Other member stores, competitive brands, and/or from other channels of distribution can compete with franchisees. The Membership Agreement (Nonbranded) and Ace Brand Agreement stated the specific location of the store that was granted for the franchisee’s membership.
Obligations and Restrictions: According to the general policy, the franchisor does not grant Membership if the owner or one of the main owners of the business is not personally and directly involved in business operation. Currently, the franchisor does not impose any restrictions and limitations on hired managers, executives, or other personnel for running the franchisee’s business. Basically, the franchisor does not restrict the types of goods and services that the franchisee may offer, however, there are a few exceptions detailed in the FDD.
Term of Agreement and Renewal: The duration of the franchise agreement is not set, nor is there any fixed time frame for renewal.
Financial Assistance: The franchisor provides few financial assistance programs detailed in FDD. The lender for all these programs is the franchisor. Ace is listed on the Small Business Administration (SBA) Franchise Registry, which means that if the franchisee decides to apply for an SBA loan, they will receive a simplified process for reviewing their loan application.