Ace Hardware has always been known as the helpful hardware placed by customers and communities. On its first 50 years in business, it was privately held and it was in 1976 when it became a retailer-owned cooperative. Every store is owned independently and is operated by local entrepreneurs who live in communities they serve. Ace is one of the largest retailer-owned cooperative today and is clear leader in the convenience segment of hardware industry when it comes to retail and wholesale sales and brand strength. It has 4,500 stores in every state of the country and in over 60 countries that generate sales of billions of dollars each year. Ace is currently operating in 14 distribution centers in the country and 3 internationally.