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Ace Adds Stores in Afghanistan

Ace has plans to enter the home improvement market in Afghanistan and has already partnered with Afghan entrepreneurs to open stores there.

Ace Hardware International Holdings, Ltd., the company’s international division, has joined with managing owner Najib Safi and country manager Abdul Safi of Safi and Safi Enterprises, which already operates an airline in Afghanistan.

The license agreement was signed in December at the Ace Hardware International Middle East North Africa (MENA) regional headquarters at Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZ). As a part of the development plan, Safi and Safi will open a minimum of 15 Ace Hardware stores in the next 10 years. They plan to follow a big-box store model as opposed to Ace’s traditional convenience format.

Safi and Safi has been involved in the Afghan construction, logistics and supply industry for more than 80 years. After receiving corporate training in the U.S., the Safis are preparing to open their first store in Mazar-e Sharif. They have already opened offices, a warehouse facility, and plan to open a second store in Kabul later this year.

Ace already has a presence in the Middle East and North Africa, with stores in Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Ace MENA provides Safi and Safi, along with other Ace retailers in the region, the ability to purchase product categories specifically tailored to international retailers from nearby suppliers, and distribute these items without having to ship through U.S. territories. The Safis plan to stock building materials, electrical panels, scaffolding, hand tools and household items from a variety of international name brands in their stores.

Additionally, up to 40 percent of the products sold will be sourced locally in an effort to support Afghan industry and offer competitively priced local products and materials.

About Amanda Bell

Amanda Bell was an assistant editor of Hardware Retailing and NRHA. Amanda regularly visited with home improvement retailers across the country and attended industry events and seminars. She earned a degree in magazine journalism from Ball State University and has received honors for her work for Hardware Retailing from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.

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