First Griffith Award goes to Ace dealer

Oak Brook, Ill.-based Ace Hardware Corporation, the industry’s largest retailer-owned hardware cooperative, recognized Les Orchekowsky of Sierra Vista, Ariz., with Ace’s first-ever Ray A. Griffith Retail Leadership Award.

Named after Ace’s former CEO Ray A. Griffith who retired in March 2013, the award will be given annually to the Ace retailer that most personifies Griffith’s outstanding leadership traits and exemplifies Ace’s core values.

“While we had numerous, excellent candidates for Ace’s first-ever Ray A. Griffith Retail Leadership Award, I can think of no one more deserving than Les Orchekowsky for this recognition,” said David Ziegler, chairman of the board, Ace Hardware Corporation. “Les has an innate ability to not only master and excel at his business, but also to motivate his employees, generate camaraderie among industry peers and deeply connect with his community.”

Orchekowsky was recognized with the award at Ace Hardware’s annual Spring Convention & Exhibits, held in Houston Feb. 24-26. He was presented with the honor in front of thousands of Ace retailers, corporate employees and vendors.

Orchekowsky, his wife Kathy and family own and operate three Ace Hardware stores throughout southeastern Arizona in the communities of Sierra Vista, Benson and Bisbee. Established in 1981, Orchekowsky is a proud and dedicated member of the community and is intensely committed to his customers and employees.

Selection for the award was based specifically on several pieces of criteria, including alignment with Ace’s long-term growth strategy 20/20 Vision, created to help drive retail sales and profitability. Additional areas of criteria for selection included a spirit of collaboration among industry peers to drive best practices and cross-functional relationship-building, as well as a strong commitment to the community and philanthropy.