Ace warehouse opens

Published 9:31 pm Thursday, July 26, 2012

City officials, Ace representatives and others cut the ribbon at the Ace Hardware redistribution center on Thursday.

When a damaging windstorm swept across the East Coast last month and knocked out power to millions of people, Ace Hardware was able to move more than 16,000 generators to its customers in short order.

The quick service, company officials said, was the result of its new redistribution center, the first building to be located at the CenterPoint Intermodal Center on Holland Road. And it all happened nearly a month before the building’s grand opening on Thursday.

“It’s already providing value,” John Venhuizen, chief operating officer for Ace Hardware, said at the event. “We anticipate this special project is going to serve us well for quite some time.”

Newsletter

Email newsletter signup

Officials used garden shears to cut the ribbon that was nailed to stacks of wood pallets. Despite the thousands of generators sold last month, several more were still in the massive inventory surrounding the ceremony.

The opening of the 336,000-square-foot building marks the first time Ace, the largest hardware company in the country, has had the ability to receive imported goods on the East Coast.

Products shipped through the Port of Virginia will be stored at the Suffolk facility until they are distributed to eight retail support centers as far west as Texas. Those centers then will transport the goods to thousands of individual, independently owned stores.

The $14 million building will create about 75 new full-time jobs, Venhuizen said, and can store up to $40 million in products.

James Hatcher, a member of Ace’s board of directors, said the new facility will translate into cost savings, both for the company and customers, because of having trucks on the road for less time.

“That’s a very practical, real way this facility is going to help the dealers of Ace Hardware,” said Hatcher, who also owns an Ace store. “That means hundreds of thousands of customers this facility will benefit.”

James Cheng, Virginia secretary of commerce and trade, said the new center will be a boon to the entire state.

“Ace could have gone anywhere to locate this new center, so we thank you again for choosing Virginia,” Cheng said. “This project is a tremendous validation for the city of Suffolk and the entire Hampton Roads area.”

Mayor Linda T. Johnson said she looks forward to working with Ace.

“We are so confident we can continue to be great partners,” Johnson said, adding that CenterPoint Properties deserves the credit for the concept.

“We thank you for working so hard to make this facility possible on this location,” Johnson said to CenterPoint officials. “We would not be here today if it weren’t for CenterPoint Properties.”