Ace is the new helpful place in more than 100 Quebec communties

    MONTREAL, April 17 /CNW/ - With 4,600 locations in more than 60
countries, Ace - the world's largest network of independent hardware
retailers, is about to grow even larger with the addition of more than 100
Quebec hardware dealers who are switching to the Ace brand.
    "This is an exciting announcement for our dealers and the communities we
serve in Quebec," says David Grenon, Chairman of the Quebec Dealer Advisory
Group and co-owner of FDS, one of the new Ace stores in Ville Saguenay. "This
change will allow us to offer more value to our customers with access to a
wider variety of high-quality products, including Ace Paint. We'll be able to
leverage the strength of a powerful international brand, while remaining
independent and serving the needs of our local community," he added.
    Ace takes its positioning as the "helpful place" very seriously and has
earned an enviable reputation for customer service excellence. In fact, this
year BusinessWeek magazine has ranked Ace on its list of "Customer Service
Champs" for the second consecutive year.
    For Chris Olsthoorn, an Ace store owner in Beloeil, Quebec, adopting a
brand that puts as much importance on customer service as he does was a key
decision making factor.
    "My business is built on customer service. For me it's a competitive
advantage and a big part of my success. The emphasis that Ace puts on employee
training and helpful customer service gave me complete confidence that these
folks care about their customers as much as I do about mine. I felt we were a
natural fit with Ace."
    In addition to the wider variety of product offerings available through
ACE, newly converted Quebec dealers are also able to leverage the power of the
Canada-wide TIM-BR MART buying group to offer customers even more value.
TIM-BR MART represents over $2 billion in buying power, allowing independent
dealers to be price competitive and offer comparable products and services to
large national retailers.
    "It's the best of both worlds," comments Carolle Blais, another new ACE
dealer with stores in Carleton sur Mer and Maria, Quebec. "I can maintain my
independence and localize my business to meet my customers' needs, and I can
do it competitively."
    The conversion process is well under way for the first group of Ace
Quebec stores and is expected to be complete by the end of May. A second round
of store conversions will begin as soon as the first is complete.

    About Ace

    Throughout its 85-year history, Ace has been known as the helpful
hardware store by both customers and communities. Last year, Ace ranked
"Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Home Improvement Stores for the Second
Consecutive Year," according to J.D. Power and Associates. With 4,600
hardware, home center and building materials stores that generate annual
retail sales of approximately $12 billion, Ace is the largest retailer-owned
hardware cooperative in the world. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill., Ace
retailer stores are located in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. For
more information on Ace, visit

    About TIM-BR MART

    In business since 1967, TIM-BR MART represents more than 740 dealer
locations across Canada, over $2 billion in annual purchases and over $3.4
billion in retail sales. TIM-BR MART's focus is to be the buying group of
choice for independent retailers, commercial dealers and manufacturers in
Canada by combining their volume to purchase at the lowest cost, understanding
the needs of their Dealers, and offering a menu of value-added services. To
learn more about TIM-BR MART visit

For further information:

For further information: Phil Otto, (902) 835-3559,

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