New signs at Hardware Hawaii's two Windward retail locations raised eyebrows, and foreshadow a transition.
Hardware outlets unveil
Ace in the hole
Banners announce that the stores are "Also now ACE."
The Lundquist family's ownership of the business founded Dec. 6, 1941, has not changed, but the company's buying cooperative membership is changing from True Value to Ace Hardware.
Hardware Hawaii Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Barry Lundquist said the buying cooperatives enable smaller independent hardware store owners to remain competitive by purchasing products for them en masse.
"If a small mom and pop store wants to buy 10 hammers, they wouldn't get a great price, but if 5,000 (stores) each want 10, for a total of 50,000, they'll get the same price as any national retailer," he said.
"Ace has been wooing us for many years," Lundquist said. "Hardware Hawaii has been the No. 1 True Value store in the nation, and we have been very loyal supporters, but I believe that Ace has the better package for the stores to join -- and some services they provide to retailers are better."
"Ace is a very financially stable company," Lundquist said. "But nationally, True Value has a few problems."
The company had been a member of the True Value buying cooperative since 1973, but few members remain the islands.
Lundquist said the 30 or so Ace stores pooling resources to run an advertisement distributed throughout the islands will save the company money.
"Basically it gives us economies of scale while still being a relatively small local company," he said.
The store chain has been named "Retailer of the Year" by the Retail Merchants of Hawaii three times.
The transition and removal of the True Value signs should be complete in mid-November.
Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached