Hoy’s makes switch to bigger-name supplier – Ace

Scott Swanson

After more than four decades as a True Value Hardware affiliate and a year after being honored as one of the chain’s top stores, Hoy’s Hardware has switched to a new supplier – Ace Harware.

The move came after True Value last year became associated with Wilco agribusiness stores, which has also coincided with True Value’s branching into the farm and ranch supply business.

“We felt that hardware was where we wanted to be,” said John Mahler, who has owned Hoy’s since purchasing it from Ivan Hoy in 1971. Hoy established the business in 1939, making it one of Sweet Home’s oldest.

Last year Hoy’s was recognized as one of 12 “Best Hardware Store in Town” honorees by True Value Hardware – a significant honor as Hoy’s was selected from nearly 8,000 stores. But shortly after that difficulties began to arise from Wilco’s entry into the True Value chain.

Wilco was able to offer different prices in its advertisements than Hoy’s could, which caused confusion, Mahler said.

“They put their ads in local newspapers and they were also cutting our price in their flyers, which is not a good thing,” he said. Some customers who brought Wilco ads to Hoy’s, with the different prices, were upset when Hoy’s couldn’t give them those prices, he said.

“They were not willing to work with us,” Mahler said of True Value.

Mahler and his son Greg, who manages Hoy’s, decided to find another supplier and settled on Ace Hardware, the nation’s largest hardware chain.

The change-over has been taking place since late fall and Hoy’s has new signs up, including a

readerboard, and a redesigned entry area in the store. The actual break with True Value, as a supplier, happened Dec. 31, John Mahler said.

“It will take several months before we get settled in,” he said. “We’re trying to get things calmed down.”

The store will be repainted and remodeled further in the spring.

John Mahler said the move will benefit customers in a greater variety of selection.

“Ace is a bigger company – more diverse,” he said. “They have more product in the warehouse.

True Value sells $1.8 billion per year. Ace sells $3.8 billion per year.”

Ace also carries the Craftsman brand, which is known for a lifetime warranty on many hand tools, already in stock at Hoy’s. It also carries Clark-Kensington paint, which is made by Valspar and, Mahler said, is “highly-touted.”

“This will provide a variety of advantages to our customers,” he said. “We’ll have more product.”

The Ace line offers plumbing and electrical products and sizes, in particular, that True Value does not carry, he said.

The fact that Ace is larger and better known was no surprise to him or his staff, Mahler said.

“Ace’s name is better known than True Value. A lot of people would come in and make checks out to Ace when we were with True Value. It’s just better known.

“We felt like hardware was where we wanted to be,” Mahler said. “That’s where Ace is.”