Sep 24 2015

Westlake Celebrates 110th Anniversary

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Westlake Ace Hardware Celebrates 110 Years of Being Helpful

 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. October 15, 2015Westlake Ace Hardware is kicking off October with an anniversary celebration commemorating “110 Years of Being Helpful.” Hard work, passion and a good-old-fashioned love for the hardware business is what started Westlake, and it’s what has helped the hardware chain grow to 91 locations today. Following is an abbreviated timeline of significant events in Westlake’s 110-year history:

1905 – William Irvine (W.I.) Westlake buys partial ownership in the Westlake & Doyle hardware store in Huntsville, MO. A local newspaper called Mr. Westlake, “one of the best young men in the country, a splendid businessman.”

1927 – Francis Knox (F.K.) Westlake, son of W.I. and Scottie (Knox) Westlake, shows a passion and talent for the hardware business at a young age. He begins managing the store part-time when he was just 12 years old.

1946-1949 – Expansion begins when Francis Knox (F.K.) Westlake, son of W.I. and Westlake. proves his love for the business by opening additional Westlake locations in Monroe City, and Moberly, MO. Those who worked for F.K. always claimed that, not matter what other business he was involved in, and his first love was the hardware business.

1955 – The self-service revolution begins. Before this time, almost all hardware stores still had long counters and rolling ladders. Customers would tell the clerk what they wanted and the clerk would climb the ladders and retrieve the item. In the newest Westlake stores, people could actually browse through the aisles and select their own merchandise.

1973 – F.K. was known for having an eye for location. By 1973, there were nine additional Westlake stores throughout Missouri.

1983 – Expansion into Oklahoma and Nebraska increases total number of stores to 28 and Westlake soon moves its corporate offices to Lenexa, KS, where it remains today.

1985 – F.K. Westlake retires, turning over leadership to his son, Scott Westlake, who emerged as just the third head of Westlake in its 80-year history. After four years as CEO, Scott Westlake left to pursue other interest. He passed along the torch to his sister Anne Elsberry’s husband, Howard Elsberry who nearly doubled the number of Westlake storefronts by the time he stepped down in 2006.

2007 – George Smith, a 31-year veteran employee of Westlake, took over as CEO. He successfully led the chain through more expansion before retiring in 2014.

2012 – After a long, successful co-op, Ace Hardware purchases the Westlake chain. To this day, although Ace has more than 5,000 stores in 62 countries and all 50 states, Westlake Ace Hardware remains its largest volume dealer.

“For 110 years, generations of customers have relied on Westlake Hardware to be their go-to source for reliable, friendly advice and high-quality products,” said Tom Knox, CEO of Westlake Ace Hardware. “The rich, decades-long tradition of service we’ve built since 1905 is remarkable and we look forward to continuing to serve our customers for many years to come.”

Westlake will be celebrating the anniversary throughout October with many specials and offerings.

For more information about Westlake’s history, visit Westlake Hardware at http://www.westlakehardware.com/anniversary/.

 About Westlake Ace Hardware

 Westlake Ace Hardware was founded in 1905 and today operates 90 neighborhood hardware stores in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. Westlake is the largest member of the Ace Hardware Cooperative, giving the company access to over 70,000 items. For more information, please visit westlakehardware.com.

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