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According to the folks at Craftsman, approximately 100 Ace stores will begin selling Craftsman tools this May. That includes portable power tools, compressors, wet/dry vacs, and storage products — but most importantly, it includes hand tools. Later this summer Ace plans to extend the extend the offer to carry Craftsman products to all of its 4,500 stores.

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Like you, we wonder how this’ll translate to the specific Ace stores near us. Unlike Sears, Ace stores are independently owned and operated, so they tend to vary a bit from store-to-store in terms of what they carry and what sort of experience you’ll receive. And this isn’t, in our opinion, a bad thing. While it certainly leaves room for error, it also leaves room for customizing the stores to local needs in a way the big-boxes simply can’t.

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But the biggest question will be how they’ll handle warranty returns. Will they accept and rebuild/replace tools on the spot like Sears does now? If so, this’ll mean a lot of new business for them. If not, it could mean a dilution of the Craftsman brand. Either way, it could mean access to the Craftsman brand for those of you without a local Sears.

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What do you think? Let us know in comments.

 

18 Responses to Ace To Sell Craftsman Tools

  1. Michael says:

    I remember the days when Sears was the go to place for hand tools. I haven’t been to one in years because they keep closing their stores. I got to one about a month ago and gave the hardware department a good look over. Except for sockets and wrenches, Sears wouldn’t be my source for tools.

    Instead of being the un HD, they tried to be HD, only worse.

  2. IronHerder says:

    I seem to remember that “Western Auto”, now “Advance Auto”, sold Craftsman tools for a while. What came of that? Does “Craftsman” have a better memory than I do? Given my advanced age, that is probably a snide remark. Anyway, why “Advance Auto”, not Advanced Auto”?

  3. stack climber says:

    Western Auto was a division of Sears & Roebuck and that unit was sold off in 1998 to Advance Auto.

    As far as craftsman expanding to other store shelves I believe it is all about $$. With the Kmart takeover and economy they are just trying to generate revenue any way possible with the help of additional shelf space from Ace. More compatition has opened up with others providing like quality, warrenty, and access that I am sure sales are showing this.

  4. ToolGuyd says:

    As I mentioned elsewhere, I see this as a potentially great move for both Craftsman and Ace. I think that the trial period and June promo period will be a good indication as to how well the new partnership will work out for consumers.

  5. Jerry says:

    Just my opinion but is seems like Craftsman Tools have gone downhill in the past several years. The flawless appearance of the finish seems less flawless these days. I have also seen a lot of Craftsman power tools at K-Mart lately here in Oregon. It seems as though Sears is barely holding on these days anyway. Struggling to stay in the market. Not sure the K-Mart purchase was so great – K-Mart is synonymous with poor quality in most areas – sort of a “not-very-clean” Wal-Mart around here.
    As for Ace Hardware – I sure wish there was one a little closer to me but I really don’t mind the 6 miles since they always seem to have that hard to find piece of hardware I really need that just won’t be at a big box.

  6. russ says:

    I think it is a good move for Ace hardware. Even if it is someone exchanging broken screwdrivers you have solved one problem…getting more people into your store.

  7. David Bryan says:

    In 2002 Kmart told my folks thanks for buying the stock but we’re bankrupt and now it’s not worth anything. In 2004 Kmart said it was buying Sears. Thanks, Kmart.

  8. KMR says:

    Sears needs to get their $hit together, period. The integration of their website and stores is awful. Their handling of promotions on their website is also awful. Their accounting is awful (no where in the USA is the sales tax rate 25%, yet I was charged $5 NY state sales tax on a $20 sale!) Instead of fixing their core issues, and increasing sales through customer retention, they decide to whore out one of their key brands to increase revenue.

  9. Coach James says:

    I agree with a lot of what has been said about Sears here, but Sears did not buy Kmart. Kmart bought Sears. Our Kmart closed a few years ago and I don’t miss it at all.

  10. Hammer Man says:

    I have not been a fan of Craftsman since the 1970s. I really believe that Craftsman has been riding on their good reputation from 50 years ago, when they were one of the few places to buy tools.

    Anything with a cord is likely to be re-sourced at any time and leave you without availability to parts in just a few years.

    Their woodworking tools are a joke.

    Everyone has a lifetime warranty these days, even some Harbor Freight tools.

    And to cap it off, I’ve had some of the worst service at Sears stores of any place I’ve ever been. After almost 30 years of staying away, I started buying some stuff there a few years ago and after about 4 visits vowed they would never see me again (and they haven’t for seven years). I’ve had sales people turn and walk into the back room when I obviously had a question, others tell me “I don’t know, you’ll just have to look around (and then walk away)” While trying to get a warranty issue revolved, I got six different answers from six different people in three different stores. I was so livid I wrote a note to the store manager outlining all the bad experiences and never heard a word back — not even the standard response #32 : “We value you as a customer and apologize for your experience…yada,yada,yada.”

    And I used to work for Sears 35 years ago.

  11. shopmonger says:

    Craftsman need to be ran as a separate company, end because of that there is little to said about them expanding their own store base. Just and HP printers are offered in stores that may or may not offer HP computers. They are ran as a separate division. That being said, i am still a huge fan of the Craftsman hand tools, they still offer a great quality at a decent price. But as is well documented here….. BUY THE TOOL NOT THE BRAND…… so it pays to do the research.

    ShopMonger

  12. frankie says:

    Craftsman branded tools made in China have been more and more common at Sears with each passing month it seems. I can only imagine that trend accelerating when Sears is shipping to Ace Hardware. What a shame. Craftsman was once a very good value, and made exclusively in USA at one time.

    Order takers at the Craftsman catalog are still saying Craftsman brand tools are made in USA, but it ain’t so. Whether they are told to say that or just believe it, I don’t know.

    BTW, Danaher has a Craftsman Industrial catalog. Most of the tools are sold at Sears, but some sets are not.

  13. SCWetherbee says:

    It had become so inconvenient to go to a Sears to buy or exchange a hand tool that I use it as a last resort. There are about six Ace stores closer than any Sears so I go there to get a screwdriver if I don’t already have one of the size I want, their screwdrivers really are nicer than a lot of others, or a socket or whatever. The lifetime warranty on all their stuff makes it an easy decision, and at most of the stores around me, the staff is or tries to be helpful and friendly. If Sears does indeed invade Ace, my preference will be first to look at the Ace branded tools.

  14. paganwonder says:

    My local Ace has a ‘no questions asked’ exchange program- if they sold it (or you say they sold it) they get another one off the shelf or work it out somehow. Consequently they have very loyal customers. Also, I have had minimal problems with items purchased from the store- so if they sell Craftsman it’s a winner for me.

  15. browndog77 says:

    I have never been a huge fan of Craftsman tools, though I do own some. I do, however, have a contract with Sears as an installation service provider. Over the past 19 years I have seen a lot of changes in the way the business is run, some good, most not so much! This news troubles me for two reasons: 1) I found out about it here, and that means they are not hyping it. 2) This signals what some Wall Street types have been saying for months, that Sears will do what is necessary to preserve its brands before closing the stores altogether. All of our work now is handled online, and they are even phasing out the picking up of products at many stores. Can Sears survive without Sears? The warranty on those tools depends on just that!

  16. Ben says:

    I actually like a lot of Ace hand tools better than Craftsman. They’ve just been more durable in my experience. Craftsman stuff is always mediocre performance at a middling price. Your typical Ace Hardware probably already carries products better than the Craftsman equivalent at a fair price. So in my opinion, Ace is wasting their time putting Craftsman junk on their shelves. Not to mention, many Ace stores are small neighborhood hardware stores – not big boxes – packed full already. What are they going to get rid of to make room for duplicative Craftsman merchandise?

  17. jonnyO says:

    If you guys really like craftsman tools then before you buy them check out http://www.mysears.com. They have all kinds of reviews on craftsman and they are pretty helpful- where ever you end up buying them at.

  18. Kweite says:

    I know alot about craftsman tools. Any questions
    Please let me know.

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