STORE SPACES

Westlake Ace Hardware hits store milestone

BY HBSDealer Staff

Westlake Ace Hardware has officially hit the 100-store milestone with the acquisition of two new stores.

The hardware store chain has finalized its acquisition of two Q.P. Ace Hardware stores in the Omaha area, bringing its total retail hardware location count in the U.S. to 100.

“We are excited to deepen our roots in Nebraska and expand our relationship with the Omaha area,” said Tom Knox, CEO of Westlake. "As we continue to grow, we will always be there to help our customers keep their households running smoothly by providing the highest level of service, know-how, and products.”

Westlake intends to have a seamless transition of ownership, with personnel to remain the same, as well as the existing stock of traditional hardware products like fasteners, tools, paint, and plumbing and electrical supplies.

The new locations are located at 8018 Harrison St. (in Ralston) and 5502 Center St. (in Omaha).

They are in the process of being re-branded as Westlake Ace locations, with grand re-opening celebrations to be held later this summer.

“Westlake was founded 112 years ago and has been growing ever since. A big part of our expansion strategy has been to make acquisitions that make sense for our customers and our business as a whole," said Knox. "The two Q.P. Ace Hardware stores are a great example of the type of businesses we consider for acquisition – deep ties within their respective communities, a tradition of outstanding customer service, and dedicated and hardworking store associates. Most importantly, these stores share our values and help us continue to deliver on our brand promise to be the best, most helpful hardware stores on the planet.”

Q.P. Ace Hardware will continue to own and operate four other locations in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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STORE SPACES

Survey Reveals Retailers Ready for Smart Building Solutions

BY Greg Fasullo

A dawning has occurred in the world of retail facilities management, a world characterized by the complex schedules and systems used to maintain heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting. It’s also a world fraught with costly, cumbersome and generally underutilized legacy “solutions” that don’t interact or provide timely information and also fail to support the proactive, forward-thinking style of facilities management it takes to lower energy cost, expand operating margins and present a “sustainable” brand in today’s increasingly “green-minded” marketplace.

According to a recent survey of retail facilities management professionals (conducted by Navigant Research and sponsored by ENTOUCH), more than 60% of retail companies are considering purchasing “smart” building technology. Another 25% claim they have already deployed the technology.

This shows the move away from aging, redundant automation and control infrastructures, monitored by time-consuming and lagging homegrown spreadsheets and databases has begun. Smart building technology is here to stay.

Defining smart building technology

To level set, smart building solutions leverage integrated technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) devices and easy-to-use, cloud-based software. They are offered as a service and supported by a command center that monitors everything, 24/7, through a 360° view of the facility and equipment ecosystem. Real-time data, gathered from traditional building automation systems and lighter IoT platforms, are analyzed alongside weather, utility and occupancy data, to create actionable insights affecting energy, comfort, repair, maintenance and productivity decisions.

Top Concern: Energy savings

“When you look at the complexity of managing energy usage across a distributed portfolio of assets alone, the need for a more intelligent solution becomes apparent,” said Casey Talon, principal research analyst, Navigant.

Indeed, the survey showed that energy management was a foremost driver for investigating a smart building solution. Where HVAC, lighting, refrigeration and utility bill management all scored less than 20% as a consideration for outsourcing, energy management scored nearly 60%. The reason: It takes a cohesive view of the operating landscape to effectively manage energy across an entire asset portfolio, something most facilities staff struggle with given the age and disparity of most legacy control systems.

If energy savings were not compelling enough, the survey uncovered six other facility management issues causing respondents to consider an outsourced smart building solution. Each scored a flat three, with a score of 5 being “extremely influential.” (Less than one percent of respondents scored any of the options as “not at all influential.”)

The issues included:

• Not enough maintenance staff

• Not enough visibility into operation info

• Too many systems in place

• Corporate reporting and sustainability goals

• Need to manage sub-billing

• Need to manage work orders

Returns on investment

“We are now seeing multi-location retail businesses adopt a smart building approach, to free internal resources and achieve significant returns through energy savings and reduced total cost of ownership. It is not unusual for a company to quickly realize two-to-four dollars in return for every dollar invested. When you can demonstrate a 20% reduction in energy usage over the first year of deployment, people tend to notice,” Talon said.

With so much at stake in today’s brick-and-mortar retail environment, it’s no wonder companies are starting to whole-heartedly embrace smart building solutions.


Greg Fasullo is CEO of ENTOUCH, which provides smart building solutions and managed services to multi-site companies across North America. Its integrated, cloud-based software and technology, combined with 24/7, consultative services, render a 360° view of the facility ecosystem.

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Gander Mountain to survive in scaled back fashion — and under new banner

BY Marianne Wilson

Camping World Holdings has given an update on its plans for Gander Mountain.

Camping World, which acquired the assets of Gander Mountain and boating division Overton's in a bankruptcy auction in May, said it plans to operate 57 locations — assuming details can be worked out with landlords and final acceptable leases agreed to. Liquidation sales started in May at all 160 Gander stores.

The plan for the locations that have survived the cut is for them to reopen under the new brand of Gander Outdoors. The stores will feature a fresh mix of Gander Outdoors, Overton's and Camping World products and services.

"Our original goal was to initially open seventy or more stores, and while our initial list is now less than seventy, we are not willing to open stores which we do not believe have a clear path to profitability," said Marcus Lemonis, chairman of Camping World Holdings, and star of the television show "The Prophet."

The company is also currently pursuing other locations for expansion, he added, and expects to announce "additional locations and markets in the near term with all of our Gander Outdoors, Overton's and Camping World offerings." On Thursday, Lemonis tweeted that he planned to open 45 new stores during the next two years.

Camping World recently held a contest, with a $100,000 grand prize, for a new logo for Gander Outdoors. On Thursday, Lemonis flew to Denver to present a check to the creator of the winning logo, graphic designer Benten Woodring. (To see the winning logo, click here.)

In addition to the winner, the designers of the top four runner-up logos received $5,000 each. The next 85 runner-ups received $1,000 each.

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