Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Apprentice TV Show winner helping with Ace Hardware Contest

Ace Hardware will make dreams come true this year with the launch of its Dream Ace(SM) contest. The unique contest will give aspiring entrepreneurs an opportunity to compete for one of them to win his or her very own Ace Hardware store valued at $1 million.
Entries for the Dream Ace contest will be accepted throughout the month of January at www.dreamacehardware.com. Successful contestants will demonstrate a combination of business and sales expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and home improvement knowledge, as well as a true commitment to helpfulness.
"Two qualities are at the heart of Ace Hardware and our store owners -- entrepreneurialism and helpfulness," said Paula Erickson, director of advertising and brand development at Ace Hardware Corp. "Through the Dream Ace contest, one qualified and talented contestant will be judged the winner and will have the opportunity to join our Ace family of entrepreneurs, and, with our help, build a successful future."
Ace Hardware is introducing the Dream Ace contest during National Business Resolutions Month, as people across the country continue to make their 2007 New Year's resolutions. According to a recent national survey* fielded for Ace Hardware, 76.8 percent of the individuals polled would like to be their own boss.
However, more than seven out of 10 respondents (71.4%) said that they would need financial support in order to start their dream career, and 42.7 percent said they would need mentoring from people with experience. The survey also revealed that most Americans (70.4%) are not currently working in their dream job.
What's in Store for Your Future?
The selection process for the Dream Ace contest begins with an online entry form, including an entrepreneurial-suitability test and three essay questions, which will be reviewed by third-party judges to identify the top contestant from each state. Contest entries will be accepted from January 1 through January 31 at 11:59 p.m. (PST). Throughout February, the 50 state finalist contestants will be narrowed down through a series of contest-related interviews, presentations and other skill-based tests taking place in New York City and Chicago. All contest activities will be judged by qualified Ace retailers or independent third parties and the Dream Ace Grand Prize Winner will be selected by a vote by all Ace retailers present at the Ace Hardware convention in Las Vegas on March 15.
The culmination of the Dream Ace contest is the grand opening, on June 30 and July 1, of the winner's store, which will be located in Houston or an alternate location at Ace's discretion. The store prize is valued at approximately $1 million, and includes opening stock inventory, fixtures, décor and technology. Additionally, the winner and his/her staff will receive extensive training and support from Ace similar to the assistance the cooperative provides its new investors.
On the Road to Success
Beginning on January 4, a team of Dream Ace ambassadors will travel across the country promoting the entrepreneurial spirit of Ace Hardware and the Dream Ace contest. Bill Rancic, celebrity entrepreneur and season one winner of "The Apprentice," and Lou Manfredini, national home improvement expert, Ace's "Helpful Hardware Man" and an Ace store owner, will cross the country in two 45-foot buses dubbed the "Dream Ace Machines." The Dream Ace Tour will make stops at Ace Hardware stores in 40 cities, offering customers giveaways and a chance to meet Rancic and Manfredini.
"Because I started my own company and grew it from the ground up, I understand the challenges and excitement of being an entrepreneur," said Rancic. "I'm excited to be part of a contest that will give one entrepreneur the chance to fulfill his or her dream of owning and managing their own business."
For more information on the Dream Ace contest, official contest rules (including winner's significant ongoing store ownership, management and other financial obligations) or to enter the contest, visit www.dreamacehardware.com.
About Ace Hardware
Throughout its 80-year history, Ace Hardware has been known as the helpful hardware store by both customers and communities. With 4,600 hardware, home center and building materials stores that generate annual retail sales of more than $13 billion, Ace Hardware is the largest retailer-owned hardware cooperative in the industry. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill., Ace currently operates 14 distribution centers in the U.S. and its retailers' stores are located in all 50 states and 70 countries. More information about Ace can be found at www.acehardware.com.
*This research project was conducted by Impulse Research and funded by Ace Hardware to assess the entrepreneurial spirit of U.S. professionals. The survey was conducted online with a random sample of 1,059 men and women -- all members of the CyberPulse™ Advisory Panel. The Advisory Panel has been carefully selected to closely match U.S. population demographics. Research was conducted in December 2006. The overall sampling error for this survey is +/- 3% at the 95% level of confidence.


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