Ace Hardware held its Fall 2022 Convention in Chicago on August 16-18, allowing more than 12,000 attendees to buy, sell, and network. The 840,000 sq. ft. exhibit hall in McCormick Place highlighted products and services offered by 1,349 vendors. According to the company, “This was the third consecutive in-person Convention for Ace following virtual shows during the height of the Covid pandemic. Ace Retailers have been robust in support of these in-person events, in Orlando Fall 21, Las Vegas Spring 22, and Chicago Fall 22. They have flocked to support new programs and buying opportunities as well as in-person training events.”
When speaking at the opening session to a standing-room-only crowd, John Surane, Executive Vice-President, Chief Merchandising Officer and Sales Officer, addressed the challenges retailers face in today’s tough economy. He referenced “things we don’t’ control—including the ‘battered global supply chain, a hyper-competitive labor market, and competitors acting aggressively. Surane then advised Ace retailers to “modify and adjust strategies to focus on things we can control and have the greatest impact.” Adding, “There is plenty we can impact together.” The remainder of his presentation detailed three areas of opportunity where Surane believes retailers can fight and win.
Lori Bossmann, Executive Vice President, Chief Supply Chain Officer, spoke about challenging issues related to the supply chain and the company’s actions to resolve them. “The supply chain is incredibly important,” says Bossmann. She touched on topics related to technology, expansion, and critical supply chain issues that affect retailers. Bossmann also thanked Ace employees “I am blessed to lead 6,000 Ace employees who come to work every day. They are the backbone of the supply chain and work each day to service retailers.”
Kane Calamari, Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer & President-Ace Foundation, addressed a problem shared by the retail community—employee retention. He outlined steps being taken to attract and retain employees. These measures include connecting to potential employees via digital marketing and structuring a comprehensive training process whose sole responsibility is to support onboarding and retaining employees. Citing communication and dialogue as key elements of retention, Calamari mentioned, “stay interviews ask employees questions such as, “What do you like?” and “What can we improve on?”
The Ace Spring 2023 Convention will be held March 14-16 in San Antonio, Texas, at the
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.