HASTINGS, Mich. - As part of a remodeling, Felpausch Food Centers here is installing a full-service, 9,000-square-foot Ace hardware store within its 34,000-square-foot Jackson, Mich., supermarket.
The chain hopes to have the store-within-a-store - its second - open by next month, said Janine Dalman, spokeswoman for Felpausch.
"Adding an Ace allows us to expand our product offering to the public and diversify while maintaining the small grocery store feel," she said.
Ace carries some of the same products Felpausch already offers in its general merchandise section, such as cleaning products, making the partnership a logical one, Dalman said.
"These are all products to manage your household," said Jim Wisner, president, Wisner Marketing Group, Libertyville, Ill. "If you look at most modern hardware stores, the range of household and cleaning products is fairly extensive, including sponges, brooms and mops, a lot of what you might think of as crossover categories."
For a hardware store, there is a lot more traffic brought in through household cleaning items than through tools, he said.
Dalman declined to say whether the Jackson area is being served by any other hardware stores. An Internet search found that there are at least 10 hardware stores within seven miles of the supermarket, including one Lowe's home center.
The full-service hardware store will expand Felpausch's offerings to include tools, plumbing and electrical supplies, and other hardware items carried by Ace, Dalman said.
Customers can order products not carried in the Jackson store through the Ace website and have it shipped to the store, she said. Customers can also make special orders through the store.
"The hardware store is one way to diversify business and increase traffic in our stores," Dalman said.
Wisner Marketing Group has found that retailers can successfully sell almost any type of category in almost any retail outlet, provided it is given the right kind of space and merchandising support, Wisner told SN.
The hardware store will be located at one end of the grocery store, and although customers can access it through the supermarket, it will also have a separate entrance, Dalman said.
Under the agreement with Ace, the shop will be owned by Felpausch, Dalman said. Ace Hardware Corp., Oak Brook, Ill., is a retailer-owned cooperative, spokesman Bryan Tapella said. He was not aware of any other Ace stores in supermarkets, and he referred questions about the viability of the in-store business model to the retailer.
This is the second integrated Ace hardware store for Felpausch. The other one is in Battle Creek, Mich.