Ace CEO says it's time to move forward

Dallas Ace Hardware president and CEO Ray Griffith kicked off the co-op’s spring market in Dallas March 6 with a straightforward message: it’s time to leave the accounting issue behind and move forward toward increasing market share, gaining customers and advancing the Ace brand.

“Admittedly, we’ve had our hands full, but I’m very optimistic about our future,” Griffith said to members during the General Session at the Dallas Convention Center. “That chapter is quickly coming to a close. Many of you want to move forward, so let’s do that.”

The chapter he was referring to was the discovery in August of an accounting error that put Ace’s equity -- previously reported at $320 million -- at $168 million. Griffith said that 2007 financials are expected to be reported on time (by the end of April), and that the projection is an $85 million bottom line. This means Ace will be able to restore $70 million in equity -- or 40 percent of the missing amount – according to Griffith.

Ace members were also presented with the slate of four board of director nominees, endorsed by corporate, and were encouraged to fill out their proxy cards before leaving the General Session.

Meanwhile, a group of co-op members, who called themselves "Concerned Ace Owners," arranged a meeting at the Golf Club of Dallas March 7 to discuss an alternate slate of Ace owners to fill the four open board spots that will be voted on in June.

Vicki Peterson, general partner at Alpine Hardware of Colorado, said the majority of Ace members would like to move past this accounting issue. “There are some people with issues and concerns, but they’re a vocal minority,” she said.

The Ace spring market will run through March 9.