BREAKING: Ace Hardware Corp. has canceled its 2020 Spring Convention amid growing concern regarding COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus. The event was originally scheduled to take place March 12-14 in Chicago.
Late last night, Ace president and CEO John Venhuizen released a statement regarding the company’s decision. Read it in full below.
Venhuizen: Ace Spring Convention Canceled
The health and safety of the Ace team is and has always been our top priority.
Due to growing concerns regarding the ongoing spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), we have made the decision to cancel the Ace Spring convention. Several compounding factors have led to this decision, including:
- The Coronavirus Disease continues to spread, reaching 71 countries including the United States with 219 confirmed cases across 17 states and 12 deaths.
- Three governors have declared a state of emergency in California, Washington and Florida.
- An increasing number of vendors are implementing travel restrictions and are withdrawing from the convention.
- An increasing number of retailers are expressing concerns and are also withdrawing.
- The potential downside of bringing people from 50 states and as many as 68 countries into the third largest city in America is in fact an increased health risk to the entire Ace team.
This is a difficult and regrettable decision. We understand the significance of the Ace convention to you, our Ace shareholders and our valued suppliers. As a result, we have invested further resources to provide a digital convention experience to deliver you the products and programs to drive your business.
I realize there are a number of questions you have, and details required to unwind an endeavor of this magnitude. Certainly, additional details will be forthcoming, but there are two I’d like to address right now.
1. Satisfying all of your buying needs is clearly a priority. You will have full and complete access to all buying opportunities that would have been afforded to you in Chicago, including Power Buys! In the coming days we will further build out a digital convention experience to enhance your ACENET and mobile app ordering tools – both of which are currently active.
2. For all Ace retailers and vendors who booked hotel rooms via the Ace convention department using MCI, our official housing and registration company, these will be cancelled on your behalf. Ace will cover all cancellation fees associated with this change to the reservation.
Thanks for your understanding and support, additional communication and next steps will follow in the coming days.
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