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Ace turns to Valspar, away from Ben Moore

Ace and Benjamin Moore, together in New York.

Ace Hardware is in the final stages of inking a deal that will replace Benjamin Moore, its signature national brand, with a program from Valspar paint, HCN has learned.

“We can confirm that we signed an agreement with Ace, [and] we expect the transaction to close by the end of the calendar year,” said Mark Goldman, VP corporate communications for Valspar. Because the deal is not final, Goldman said he could not comment on the details of the program, including whether Ace’s two paint manufacturing plants are part of the negotiations.

When contacted by HCN, Kate Kirkpatrick, a spokeswoman for Ace, said: “We cannot disclose any information since we have not closed on the agreement yet.”

One person was free to talk about proposed change, however. Edward Klein, senior VP strategy and retailing for Benjamin Moore, told HCN that his company wanted to stay with its “selective distribution” business model. Ace, on the other hand, “[wanted] a national brand that they could sell in all their stores.”

“We’re committed to retailers who are committed to paint,” explained Klein, who helped set up the initial program with Ace in 2005. Klein estimated that Benjamin Moore currently supplies 1,400 to 1,500 of Ace’s dealers, which number approximately 4,000.

These Ace/Ben Moore dealers received a Dec. 7 letter signed by Klein and three other company executives pledging to continue the program. “We are more than prepared to work with these retailers on a direct basis,” Klein said. “We’re evaluating ways to supply them and handle shipping to smaller stores.”

Benjamin Moore also recently struck a deal to supply paint to San Jose, Calif.-based Orchard Supply Hardware. And at the recent True Value Fall Market, Benjamin Moore had a booth where it promoted a billing arrangement with True Value retailers.

Ace bought the first paint

Ace bought the first paint plant from Valspar during the mid-80's, they subsequently constructed a second "state of the art" paint plant and never learned how to efficiently operate either nor produce an exceptional line of paint. Management refused to private label paint for other's in order to boost production/efficiency, therefore, it is probably best to sell them.

The question is: what took so long to recognize and dispose of a hemorrhaging asset ?

As a painting contractor, I

As a painting contractor, I have used ACE brand Royal paints for many years, and they have NEVER let me down. They cover well, are reasonably priced (half the price of some of the 'big name' brands, and better quality) and always get the job done right. The back of my business cards even touts that I use ACE Royal exclusively. They have been the process of converting over to the Clark & Kensington label - but with what appears to be the same quality in the can.

I sincerely hope that, with the takeover, it does not go the route of so many other takeovers - i.e. "how can we make it cheaper, or how do we put OUR stuff into the can and fool people into still buying it?" I am NOT a fan of Valspar paints. If that happens, I will be shopping for another brand to use in my day to day business.A shame on 2 fronts - it will take some experience to sort it all out, and I have a GREAT relationship with S&S ACE hardware & Mower in Buford, GA., where I purchase all of my paints and sundries.

Hey Valspar - leave the ACE formulation alone. It is a great product!

Bart Daugherty
Sycamore Ridge Painting & Repair
Sugar Hill, GA

Full circle! Ace used Valspar

Full circle! Ace used Valspar for it's Private Label paints before the Matteson plant was built.