The CEO of Ace Hardware breaks down what makes his company stand apart from the big box giants Home Depot and Lowe's

Ace HardwareCourtesy of Ace Hardware

  • Ace Hardware stands apart from rivals Home Depot and Lowe's, according to CEO John Venhuizen.
  • Venhuizen said that his company is all about helping customers maintain their "biggest asset": their homes.
  • He said that big box retailers like Home Depot and Lowe's tend to be a better fit for large home renovation projects.

Ace Hardware may compete in the same general home improvement market as Home Depot and Lowe's, but CEO and president John Venhuizen says there are a few major differences between his company and the big boxes.

Business Insider spoke to Venhuizen about the Oak Brook, Illinois-based business, which opened 900 new stores in the last five years alone, bringing its total count to 5,300 globally. The majority of those locations - 4,600, to be exact - are in the United States. As Venhuizen says, that's more locations than the store count of Home Depot and Lowe's combined.

Venhuizen praised Home Depot and Lowe's, calling them "good companies" that are "very good at what they do." But while Ace Hardware competes with both businesses in the home improvement space, the CEO said that his company differs in one major way.

According to Venhuizen, Ace is more focused on home "preservation" and maintenance than big-box rivals Home Depot and Lowe's, which specialize in larger home renovation projects.

Read more: The CEO of Ace Hardware explains how his company, which boasts more stores than Home Depot and Lowe's combined, is going all in on the 'do it for me' market

"They're primarily focused on home renovation, whereas we're more focused on home preservation," he said.

In other words, Venhuizen said Ace isn't the place to go when you're looking to drop "thousands of dollars to renovate your home."

"Ace has always been about home preservation, helping you fix, repair, and maintenance your biggest asset," he said.

Other than that, Venhuizen that Ace is putting all its resources into "service, convenience, and quality."

"Why would someone go to an Ace versus some of the big boxes?" he said. "We have an irrational pursuit of amazing service. The red vested heroes that work in our stores - 100,000 of them around the world - that are owned and operated by local owners provide a level of service for which Ace has become famous."

There's also the matter of geographical proximity. Venhuizen estimated that 75% of people living in the United States live within 15 minutes of an Ace Hardware store. The CEO added that Ace is the only national retailer to stock certain brands, including Benjamin Moore Paint and grills like Weber, Traeger, and Big Green Egg.

"We've got service, we've got convenience, quality, and locally relevant products," Venhuizen said.

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