Once a small chain of Chicago-area hardware stores, Ace Hardware has evolved into a global franchise of more than 4,600 stores across 50 states and in more than 70 countries. Despite that span, customers might feel like each Ace was its own unique entity. Although each storefront carries many of the same popular items, each location is independent, allowing storeowners from New York City to Des Moines to offer goods tailored to the community’s needs. The inventory always includes a wide range of products, from trashcans to appliances and tools to complete tasks in the kitchen, garden, conservatory, ballroom, or billiard room of any home. Typically, patrons perusing the aisles will stumble upon well-known brand names, such as Black & Decker, Craftsman, and Stanley.