Savannah, GA,
07:02 PM

Ace Hardware's "Ace" in the hole


High quality Great Dane dry freight vans give Ace Hardware the upper hand over the competition

For more than 20 years, Great Dane has provided Ace Hardware with well-built, quality trailers," says Tom Grove, corporate fleet manager, Ace Hardware Corporation. "Throughout its 86-year history, Ace has been known as the helpful hardware place, and Great Dane dry vans help us fulfill that promise."

Founded in 1924 by a small group of Chicago hardware store own- ers, Ace changed the retail landscape by allowing individual stores to purchase merchandise in bulk to save money and buy at the lowest possible price. This partnership enabled even smaller stores to compete effectively against larger stores in their markets. Today, Ace is the largest retailer-owned hardware cooperative in the world.

A key component of that success, Grove relates, has been the effi- cient delivery of a wide range of goods to store locations. Today, the Ace Hardware fleet, including about 900 Great Dane trailers, serves 4,100 stores in all 50 states from 14 distribution centers.

"Over the years," Grove says, "we've made changes to our delivery and distribution operation to better serve our retailers. Great Dane's various trailer models and technologies have addressed our changing needs very effectively."

In the past, Grove explains further, loads to Ace Hardware stores were floor loaded and handled with Great Dane Classic dry freight vans, including the use of floor rollers and side doors. By the late 1990s, however, the distribution operation had transitioned to containerized freight that could be double-stacked to increase carrying capacity.

With this set up, the containerized freight could be moved to the rear of the trailer with pallet jacks and then lowered on liftgates or with forklifts. At that point, Ace transitioned to Great Dane P-Series vans equipped with liftgates. At the same time, the single side laminate interior lining unique to the SSL model was chosen to eliminate the use of plywood as an interior lining, which helped cut maintenance costs.