Harps Food Stores will open its first free-standing Ace Hardware in Charleston, Ark., according to local news reports. The store will open in March and will be at the site of a former Walmart Express location. The 11,500-square-foot store also will sell fuel.
Harps is the latest grocer to expand beyond food into hardware to help grow sales. Giant Eagle has a deal to open several Ace Hardware stores-within-a-store in its Pittsburgh locations, and Ace operates the store-within-a-store concept in several independent supermarkets throughout the country. A deal with Kroger was rumored a couple of years ago, and while that didn’t pan out, Ace Hardware has made a big push into the grocery marketplace in the past several years. It currently has more than 225 locations within grocery stores, with 125 of them opening in the past five years.
The partnership between grocery and hardware can be a win for both retail businesses, allowing them to be a convenient alternative to big-box retailers such as Walmart and Home Depot.