Ace Hardware was founded in 1924 by Richard Hesse, E. Gunnard Lindquist, Frank Burke, and Oscar Fisher in Chicago, IL. Ace Hardware, incorporated in 1927 as Ace Stores Inc., was founded to provide a centralized purchasing organization to supply the founders' and members' stores. Its retail network expanded to hundreds of dealers by 1949. After Hesse retired in 1973, Ace was sold to its retailers, becoming a cooperative. This allowed independent owners to become deal-owners and shareholders in the company. Ace is the helpful place!