Ace Hardware Acquires Majority Stake in E-Commerce Startup, The Grommet
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OAK BROOK, ILL. AND SOMERVILLE, MASS., Oct. 3, 2017 – Ace Hardware Corporation and The Grommet, announced that Ace Hardware has completed its acquisition of a majority stake in e-commerce startup, The Grommet.
The Grommet operates an e-commerce website that markets and sells new and innovative products created by independent entrepreneurs, also known as Makers. It has discovered and launched dozens of now household brand names, including FitBit, IdeaPaint, OtterBox, SimpliSafe and SodaStream. To date, The Grommet has launched more than 2,500 innovative consumer products and amassed a community of more than three million early adopters and supporters.
Ace Hardware and The Grommet first began working together in 2016 as part of a collaboration to bring new, unique and otherwise undiscovered products from independent Makers into select Ace stores.
“We both stand as strong advocates for the underdog. From the very beginning we have appreciated our alignment in support for and advancement of the independent maker,” said John Venhuizen, president and CEO, Ace Hardware Corporation. “Under Ace’s ownership, I believe The Grommet can offer our customers more of that which fuels global economies and makes America special—the unbridled creativity of the local entrepreneur.”
“The Grommet has often been called a ‘general store for innovation,’ and Ace is a trusted destination for the goods and services homeowners need to take care of their homes. That is a powerful combination,” said Jules Pieri, co-founder and CEO of The Grommet. “Both companies have a deep heritage of helping local businesses thrive so our values are uncannily compatible. And how fitting is it that our company is named after a humble piece of hardware? There is some destiny at work here.”
Ace Hardware is now the majority, controlling owner of The Grommet, however, both of the company’s original founders, Joanne Domeniconi and Jules Pieri, and their employees, will continue to have some equity ownership of the company. Ace intends to provide considerable autonomy to The Grommet and has no plans to change the company’s strategic direction.
“Ace’s expansive supply chain and network of 5,034 stores coupled with The Grommet’s innovative product discovery platform combine to give dreamers, inventors, innovators and Makers a sustainable, high-quality path to meaningful growth, without having to bow down to the altar of Amazon,” Venhuizen said.
Retail analytics from Ace Hardware stores demonstrate significant value in aligning both physical stores with a digital discovery platform. Current customers of The Grommet visit Ace over 50 percent more times than the average Ace Rewards customer and spend 2.8 times as much.