It was a hard decision to walk away from such a HUGE retailer. Man oh man but sometimes you have to do the math and see if it makes business sense. Especially if you’re a very small business witch only has 1 product which only retailers for $14.99. Ace Hardware Corp has some requirements, for example they expect each vendor to exhibit at their Trade Show twice a year. Each show is $5,000 for the show plus flight, hotel, food and staff if you need more people to help you because there are only so many people you can talk to when they rush by.
We had to sell A LOT of units to cover that cost and it’s very difficult to expect an Ace owner to buy more then 6 for their small store. Once we proved ourselves, we did get into Ace Hardware Warehouse and they purchased cases for each of their DC’s. Each store prefers to be able to buy product from the DC because they don’t have to pay for shipping. Where if we had sold it to the store they would pay shipping.
When product is in a DC the storeowner is also able to just buy 1 or two to see how it sells before they commit to a larger amount.
Needless to say we were excited to get into the warehouse and spent a few years working with Ace however as our product got more popular more Ace owners started selling it on Amazon without our permission. And yes of course no one has to get “permission “ to sell products on Amazon but when there are 40 people selling your product on Amazon at different prices and NOT even respecting our MAP, that can be very frustrating for everybody. We chose to contact sellers and ask them to either open an account with us directly that way we can manage it OR respectfully to please remove the listing. Many of them did respect our wishes and removed it. However, more kept coming up and eventually we chose to take control and decided to stop selling it to Ace. If there are many Hang-O-Matics being sold on Amazon then our retailers like Home Depot, Hobby Lobby, The Container store are not moving our inventory.
We have not shipped any inventory to an Ace DC in a year. We stopped attending their shows and we know that we have a new buyer who never responded to us a year ago. With that said, we are no longer doing business with Ace Hardware. But wait there’s more… we received a letter back in March in the mail from Ace letting us know a payment of $370 was past due. It did not say what it was for. Naturally I sent an email asking what it was for, which is weird that I had to ask, don’t you agree?
Then weeks later I received a response with a proper invoice which had NOTHING on it but the dollar amount. Again…no information what the money is for. I don’t get it! Once again, I replied asking what this is for and I received another response that said, it was for getting rid of excess inventory. Once again no proof of any kind, no prior communication, didn’t even let us know for how many units with that said, if you want to do business with Ace Hardware Copr. Make sure it makes business sense for YOUR Company.