Ace Hardware held a successful in-person convention September 21-23 in Orlando that brought together more than 10,000 total attendees. The event provided Ace teams a world-class venue to effectively plan business, take advantage of margin-building buying opportunities, experience the latest and greatest products and build valuable relationships with other attendees.
“I enjoy learning from my fellow retailers and find these events are how we grow and advance,” said Buck Hurst, owner of Buck’s Ace Hardware in St. George, Utah.
Ace occupied more than 800,000 square feet indoors, with an additional 150,000 square feet outdoors for grilling and outdoor power equipment. The outdoor space—featuring outdoor power and barbecue demos as well as the latest grilling innovations from the top grill brands—was twice the size of Ace’s last in-person show held in Atlanta in 2019.
In all, there were more than 3,300 Ace stores in attendance from all 50 states and over 1,200 vendor exhibits, making this year’s event one of the most successful in recent years, with attendance exceeding Ace’s last in-person convention in Atlanta in 2019.
“Opening the show floor Tuesday morning to greet the rush of a couple thousand eager Ace retailers was exhilarating. They were so excited to be back together, the energy was palpable. It was a major step back toward ‘normal’ and they were quite vocal in their appreciation for moving forward with the convention. I couldn’t be happier to report that the Ace team pulled off a safe and productive experience that will pay dividends for our retailers in the months to come,” said John Surane, Ace’s executive vice president, chief merchandising and sales officer.
Additional show highlights included: more than 15,000 new items added to the RSC network, countless impactful programs unveiled, 8,000 vendor deals, nearly 50 live and virtual training sessions, more than 200 Ace Handyman Services franchisees attending for the first time; and, despite torrential rains, more than 5,500 attendees participated in the private Ace night at Universal Studios.
Although the ordering window is still open for Ace retailers, this Orlando convention is on track to generate record sales, according to company officials.