Retail Beacon Award — Turner Ace Hardware
The Turner family has been part of the Jacksonville community for 65 years. Mike Turner and his wife Dottie operate as co-CEOs and do a lot of the buying, while their three sons represent the fourth generation to enter the family business. Kyle oversees store operations, Mitchell runs the corporate office and oversees IT and HR, while Jason is in charge of Turner Home.
Turner Ace Hardware now includes four stores with the newest one opening in May 2019 in St. Augustine. This 15,000-square-foot store features a covered area outside for live goods and a large area for pottery and bagged goods. Business at the new store is off to a great start so far, according to Kyle.
Turner Ace’s flagship store is in Jacksonville Beach. This 54,000-square-foot store has a unique product mix. It caters to customers with premium brand-name grills, outdoor furniture, full-service gift center and an upscale cleaning specialty department. With its own branded entrance, Turner Home operates as a “store within a store” with a wide range of outdoor furniture. This store also offers customized kitchens as well as 20,000 square feet devoted to fertilizers, soils, plants and fountains. The Jacksonville Beach store earned the top Platinum level of performance from Ace.
Their entry into the furniture category was a calculated move to counter competition. “When Home Depot opened a store literally across the street in 2015, we couldn’t justify having so much space for hardware. Now 35,000 square feet is Turner Home,” Kyle explains.
The store on Atlantic Boulevard in Jacksonville is almost 50,000 square feet including 16,000 square feet of hardware and a 7,000-square-foot garden center. Turner Home occupies the rest of the space. This store was completed renovated in 2018 to create a better and easier shopping experience for customers, and in 2019 it achieved the Platinum level designation from Ace for the third consecutive year.
The Turners’ store in the historic district of St. Augustine has blown away all sales projections since opening in December 2015. It has enjoyed double-digit growth through its first four years and also achieved Ace’s top Platinum level designation.
“Ace has been a great supplier for us, coming up with procedures to make our business run smoothly,” Kyle says. “We do great with their advertising and marketing programs.” Part of what makes Turner Ace stores unique is the diversity of their product mix, combined with the premium brand names they stock like Tommy Bahama outdoor furniture, Stihl outdoor power equipment, Craftsman tools, and Weber and Big Green Egg grills. “Our product mix makes us a regional pull,” explains Kyle. “We also made a commitment to surfing and beach wear like flip-flops.”
Turner Ace has the unique ability to serve both the customer looking for a $200 grill, as well as the customer looking for a $50,000 outdoor kitchen. By marketing through their local Ace advertising group as well as in high-end lifestyle magazines, the company is able to stand out as a one-stop shop regardless of a customer’s budget.
Furniture and grills are their top niches and they pull in customers, who end up buying other hardware items. “Ace is great at building traffic, but if you don’t have a localized niche such as a garden center you won’t perform to your potential,” Kyle points out. They operate a separate website, www.turnerhomefl.com and Facebook page for the home and garden center to cater to customers interested in creating an outdoor living space. “The Ace Rewards program has been huge for us, and it’s been great to see the ROI with that,” Kyle says. “We’ve been slow to get on board with social media, but now it’s starting to expose us to customers in new ways.”
Turner Ace participates in local community events and supports many local organizations such as Boy Scouts by allowing them to grill on the weekends and raise money for their troop. Their biggest event of the year is their partnership with the Jacksonville Beach Police Department in an annual Christmas Party, which attracts hundreds of kids each year. Their annual EggFest has raised about $20,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network each of the last two years.
“It’s really exciting to win the Beacon Award,” says Kyle. “We all work really hard and it’s nice to be recognized, which means we must be doing something right.”