Mike Rehmer, merchandising department manager at Ace, called the changes a “restructuring” of the department that improves the relationship between the LBM division and the building materials buying team. Previously, the LBM team concentrated on building material sales on a drop ship basis, while the building products team concentrated on developing Ace warehouse programs for both Ace LBM and Ace Hardware stores.
As a result, Rehmer said, the efforts of the two teams “overlapped during vendor negotiations. Now, under a single buyer and centralized team, drop ship and warehouse (Retail Support Center) programs will be combined.”
Ace hired Pellerito, who is no longer with the company, as a lumber trader in 1989. When Ace spun off its lumber division in 1999 to Builder Marts of America, she continued with Ace in store planning and design. When Ace resumed its LBM efforts with a focused division in 2003, the co-op put Pellerito in charge. In 2006, she had four territory managers in her department.
Two LBM specialists—Jeff McGuire and Beth Stewart—remain with the LBM division, according to McGuire, who pointed to market conditions as one of the reasons for the structural change.
Rehmer said he expects the changes to have a minimal effect on Ace’s LBM store retailers, but some of these retailers expressed concerns about the program.
“They pretty-well gutted it. That’s the way I interpret it,” said Kent Porter of Porters Building Centers, Kearney, Mo., an Ace dealer with seven locations. Porter was one of the original dealer members of the co-op’s Dealer Advisory Council, formed in the mid-1990s to increase Ace’s role as a supplier to pro dealers.
With a large number of its 4,700 dealers owning lumberyards, Porter said Ace “could absolutely dominate in building material distribution, but they just can’t figure it out or don’t want to figure it out,” he told Home Channel News. One specific complaint, he said, was the co-op regularly failed to maintain enough inventory in LBM products such as drywall compound and gun nails—merchandise that could have been bigger sellers for the co-op.
Moynihan Lumber, an Ace dealer with three lumberyard and two hardware store locations, was one of the earliest lumber dealers in New England to join the co-op. Kevin Spicer, Moynihan’s purchasing manager and store manager, described the co-op’s history in LBM as mercurial. “This is not just a