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Maker to Market

Ace Hardware Hosts Maker to Market Event for Product Inventors

Ace Hardware Corp. hosted its first Maker to Market™ Day, an event created to allow entrepreneurs and inventors to pitch product ideas that could end up for sale in co-op stores.

Ace employees who make purchasing decisions for more than 5,000 Ace Hardware stores around the world considered the product ideas in September in Illinois.

More than 60 entrepreneurs pitched their product ideas, presenting new-to-market or never-before-seen concepts. according to Ace Hardware. The event attracted product innovators from the U.S. and other countries, such as Denmark.

“The goal of Ace’s Maker to Market event is to establish a pipeline of new, differentiated and innovative products from independent makers,” says John Sommers, vice president of merchandising for Ace Hardware Corp. “We had an extremely successful first Maker to Market event, with a dynamic lineup of new products. We look forward to bringing many of them to market through Ace stores.”

At the end of the event, two makers were named winners in each of the following categories: New to Consumer Market and New to Hardware.

The winner in the New to Consumer Market category was CasusGrill, a biodegradable device that retails for $12.99. The 2.2-pound grill is portable, quick to heat and disposable, according to Ace.

The winner from the New to Hardware category was Stowaway™ Tools from the makers of Klecker Knives. The product is a 3-D printed phone case that contains four tiny tools.

Both winners will be given the opportunity to present and market their products at the Ace Hardware 2018 Spring Convention in Dallas, which is the co-op’s spring buying show for retailers.

About Kate Klein

Kate is profiles editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. She reports on news and industry events and writes about retailers' unique contributions to the independent home improvement sector. She graduated from Cedarville University in her home state of Ohio, where she earned a bachelor's degree in English and minored in creative writing. She loves being an aunt, teaching writing to kids, running, reading, farm living and, as Walt Whitman says, traveling the open road, “healthy, free, the world before me.”

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