Ace Hardware Receives Industry Award for Excellence in Retail Training

Contributed to by: Kate Kirkpatrick and Sasha Bigda, Ace Hardware

Ace’s Helpful 101 retail training program recognized with Bronze Award by Brandon Hall

Ace HardwareOAK BROOK, Ill., October 9, 2013 – Ace Hardware, the industry’s largest hardware cooperative, is pleased to announce it has won the coveted Brandon Hall Bronze Award for “Best Onboarding Program” for its Helpful 101 retail training program.

The Brandon Hall Group is a preeminent research and analysis organization focused on developing learning, talent management and business research to help drive organizational performance.

Rolled out earlier this year across the entire Ace organization, Helpful 101 is a certification program that focuses on the customer experience at the retail store level. To become certified, all Ace associates individually complete the Helpful 101 learning plan and a week-long, team-based certification event. Ace customers are invited to shop the store and provide feedback through survey participation that ultimately determines whether or not a retailer becomes certified.

“Our goal in the development of the Helpful 101 Certification course has been to ensure that Ace stores are fulfilling the Ace brand promise and delivering an amazing customer experience to every customer, every time,” said Tom Knox, Vice President, Retail Development, Retail Training and Supply. “Ace stores already deliver award-winning service and Helpful 101 Certification solidifies our place as leaders in the industry.”

Entries were evaluated by a panel of independent senior industry experts, Brandon Hall analysts and executive leadership based upon the following criteria: fit the need, design of the program, functionality, usability, innovation, and overall measureable benefits.

“We are extremely proud to honor our 2013 award-winning organizations for their remarkable achievements,” said Mike Cooke, Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group, Inc. “This elite group of organizations excelled in developing measurable, sustainable programs that produced outstanding business results.”

About Ace Hardware

For nearly 90 years, Ace Hardware has been known as the place with the helpful hardware folks in thousands of neighborhoods across America, providing customers with a more personal kind of helpful. In 2013, Ace ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Home Improvement Retail Stores, Seven Years in a Row” according to J.D. Power. With more than 4,700 hardware stores locally owned and operated across the globe, Ace is the largest hardware cooperative in the industry. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill., Ace and its subsidiaries currently operate 14 distribution centers in the U.S and also have distribution capabilities in Shanghai, China; Panama City, Panama; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Its retailers’ stores are located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and approximately 60 countries. For more information on Ace, visit

About Brandon Hall Group

Having worked with more than 10,000 clients globally and after 20 years of delivering world— class solutions, Brandon Hall Group is the preeminent research and analyst organization focused on developing research-driven solutions to drive organizational performance for emerging and large organizations. Brandon Hall Group has an extensive repository of thought leadership, research, data and expertise in Learning and Development, Talent Management, Sales Effectiveness, Marketing Impact, and Executive Management. (


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