Ace Hardware

  • Ace Hardware announced its acquisition of Handyman Matters, a home repair services franchise, on Friday. 
  • CEO John Venhuizen told Business Insider that his hardware cooperative is looking to tap into the “do it for me” market.
  • Venhuizen said that Ace Hardware customers have been “basically begging” the company to delve into the home improvement services sector.

Ace Hardware is jumping straight into the “do it for me market” with its acquisition of home improvement service chain Handyman Matters.

Business Insider spoke to Ace CEO and president John Venhuizen about what this acquisition means for the hardware retailers’ cooperative, which now boasts more locations than the combined store count of competitors’ Home Depot and Lowe’s.

He said that the timing seemed right for the move, given Ace’s growth trajectory. The Oak Brook, Illinois-based business 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.

“We feel like we have an incredible amount of momentum,” Venhuizen told Business Insider. “There are not many retailers in the United States that are opening stores. Many are shutting them. We opened more than 900 in the last five years and we’ll open more than 800 in the next five. We feel like we’re aligned with what the consumer wants.”

Venhuizen added that the company is on its 10th straight year of same-store sales growth. So where does Handyman Matters — which will be rebranded as Ace Handyman Services — fit into all that?

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The Colorado-based company boasts 57 franchisees across 23 states, employing a workforce of 250 handymen ready to help out customers with carpentry, flooring, painting, and other home improvement services. The Ace Hardware CEO says his retail’s acquisition of the business represents a foray into the “do it for me” market. 

According to Venhuizen, customers have been “basically begging” Ace Hardware to launch in-house home improvement services offerings, and it aligned with the business’s goal of being “the helpful place.”

What’s more, it ties in perfectly with the rise of the “do it for me” market; the contingent of home improvement shoppers who are looking to hire pros to do the heavy lifting on project through trusted retailers.

Venhuizen said that there’s not much of a difference between the “do it for me” customers and the “do it yourself” shopper. Ultimately, it comes down to the customer’s bandwidth for a new home improvement or maintenance task, level of expertise, and the nature of the project itself.

“It’s this natural fit of bringing ‘helpful’ to the home, so that we have a service provider that can actually do it for the consumer,” he said. “It fits naturally with what we’re known for and the trust that our brand has engendered in these communities.”

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