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CEO Retires From 121-Store Westlake Ace Hardware Chain

CEO Retires From 121-Store Westlake Ace Hardware Chain

Westlake Ace Hardware CEO Tom Knox has retired, and Joe Jeffries, who was president and chief operating officer, has replaced him in the role.

Westlake is a 121-store chain that is corporately owned by the Ace Hardware cooperative, which bought the company in 2013. Westlake Ace is Ace Hardware’s retail division and operates stores in 10 states. The chain has been rapidly expanding in recent years, primarily through store acquisitions.

Westlake Ace Hardware

Tom Knox

Knox retired March 30 after serving Westlake in an executive role for about four years.  Prior to joining Westlake, Knox held several leadership positions during his 22-year career with Ace Hardware Corp. He made significant contributions to Ace’s long-term growth strategy, according to the co-op.

“Tom is a high-caliber executive who brought tremendous value to Ace over the course of his career, and I want to thank him for his servant-hearted leadership and unwavering integrity,” says John Venhuizen, president and CEO of Ace Hardware Corp. “While Tom will certainly be missed, we are excited about the future of Westlake Ace, and confident in the leadership of Joe Jeffries as he assumes the role of CEO.”

Westlake Ace Hardware

Joe Jeffries

Jeffries began working for Westlake in 2014 after serving as CEO of A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts, an arts, crafts and floral merchandise retailer headquartered in New Jersey.

“It’s an honor to be selected as the new CEO for Westlake Ace,” Jeffries says. “It has been a pleasure working with Tom over the past four years, and I look forward to leading the company as we work together to grow the business and strive to meet the needs of our customers.”

Since Jeffries is now president and CEO of Westlake, Andrew Schmitt has assumed the role of vice president and chief operating officer. Schmitt joined Westlake in 2017 as vice president of operations, and was previously director of retail operations for Ace Hardware’s western division.

About Kate Klein

Kate Klein
Kate is an assistant editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. She reports on news and industry events. She graduated from Cedarville University in her home state of Ohio, where she earned a bachelor's degree in English and minored in creative writing. She loves being an aunt, teaching writing to kids, running, reading long books, farm living and, as Walt Whitman says, traveling the open road, “healthy, free, the world before me.”