Sears, Ace Hardware Agreement Has SIU Roots| News from CoB | SIU

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Sears, Ace Hardware Agreement Has SIU Roots

April 14, 2010, Meredith Rhoads

${image-alt} Sean Boston (left) and Ray Griffith

A recently-formed partnership between Ace Hardware and Sears Holdings Corporation has its roots in the Southern Illinois University College of Business. Through a relationship between two alumni, Ace Hardware will begin carrying Sears’ best selling hardware line, Craftsman Tools, in their stores, beginning in May 2010.

This partnership was forged between Ray Griffith (1975, BS Business Administration), who is the Chief Executive Officer of Ace Hardware and Sean Boston (1992, BS Marketing), the Vice President of Channel Management-Brands for Sears Holdings Corporation.

The two alumni first met at the 2008 Hall of Fame induction ceremony, where Boston was a Hall of Fame inductee, and Griffith was being honored as the Executive of the Year. After that, they kept in contact and began looking for ways to work together, in an effort to benefit the two venerable companies. “We found that our common interest and common goals could be used to strengthen both the Sears and Ace brands,” noted Boston about the newly established partnership.

Shortly after their introduction, Griffith invited Boston to the Ace Hardware headquarters located in Oak Brook, Illinois to discuss how the Craftsman Brand could benefit from distribution with Ace. Griffith recalled, “I think it became obvious pretty quick that Ace could benefit from the Craftsman brand and Sears might benefit from 4500 Ace locations across America representing and selling Craftsman products.”

The rollout will begin with 100 Ace stores beginning to sell Craftsman hand tools, portable power tools, tool storage units and compressors among other items. There are plans for Craftsman products to be in all Ace Hardware locations in the near future.

Both Boston and Griffith are actively involved with the College of Business. Boston currently serves as a member of Dean Dennis Cradit’s External Advisory Board.