Ace Hardware Acquires E-Commerce Startup The Grommet
Ace Hardware has acquired a majority stake in The Grommet, an e-commerce startup that brings to market products from independent entrepreneurs and emerging companies, officials announced Tuesday. Launched in 2008, The Grommet has worked with more than 2,500 inventors, entrepreneurs and small businesses to launch dozens of household products and brands on its website. FitBit, IdeaPaint, OtterBox and SodaStream are among the items that were showcased on The Grommet as they were launching.
“We’ve both been duking it out for the little guy," Jules Pieri, who co-founded The Grommet with Joanne Domeniconi, told the Chicago Tribune. "Ace has been doing it for 93 years, and we’ve been doing it for just under nine years. There’s a lot of heart and soul and passion for helping people realize their dreams.”
Total Retail's Take: A partnership launched between the two companies in 2016 — Grommet displays were added to Ace’s brick-and-mortar stores featuring about 40 different products that the online startup was testing each quarter — proved successful enough that Ace decided to purchase a majority interest in The Grommet. The deal aligns The Grommet's unique, innovative products from small businesses and entrepreneurs into local and independently owned Ace stores. In addition to The Grommet and Ace, the real winners in this deal may very well be the small businesses and inventors whose products were getting exposure on The Grommet's website. Their exposure just increased significantly by getting the products into Ace's stores.