Ace Hardware buys home services franchisor Handyman Matters

Ace Hardware Corp., which recently expanded its omnichannel capabilities through in-store delivery, is entering the online home services business.

The hardware retail cooperative of around 5,300 stores worldwide acquired Handyman Matters, a franchisor for repair, maintenance and improvement services that books appointments online and via a toll-free number. Handyman Matters currently has 57 franchisees who collectively employ around 250 craftsmen in 121 markets in 23 states.

As part of the agreement, Ace Hardware will rename Handyman Matters to Ace Handyman Services, which will operate as a new independent subsidiary. Integration and rebranding initiatives are currently underway, which Ace Hardware says should be completed in the first quarter of 2020.

Andy Bell, Founder and CEO of Handyman Matters, will continue to lead the day-to-day operations of Ace Handyman Services from its Denver headquarters. Ace Hardware staff did not immediately respond to a request for more details.

“This acquisition combines a proven franchise system for home repair and maintenance with Ace’s trusted brand and service. Increasing support for existing franchisees while aggressively recruiting is part of a compelling evolution of our plan for strategic growth and continued success for our retailers, “said John Venhuizen, President and CEO of Ace Hardware.

Services are one way online and in-store retailers can differentiate themselves. A survey of 1,202 US consumers conducted by Bizrate Insights for Internet Retailer in March found that shoppers are booking a range of services online. The survey found that 26% of shoppers had booked at least one type of service over the Internet in the past six months. Around 90% of those who booked a service online said they were satisfied with the experience.

Among the respondents, the most popular services booked online were car services, which were reported by 20% of respondents, and beauty services, which were reported by 10%.

The acquisition of Handyman Matters is part of the ongoing expansion of Ace Hardware’s omnichannel capabilities. In April, online purchasing was introduced and is available in-store at many US locations.

Ace ranks 1030 in the Internet Retailer Next 1000 Ranking 2019. Without specifying specific figures, Ace Hardware reported that online sales in the second quarter ended June 29 increased by 58.0% compared to the same period last year.

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