Testimonials

TESTIMONIALS

Art Freedman has brought a new way of thinking to our retailers in Ireland. The education Art has brought to our conferences from his “real world” experiences and his passionate presentation works very well in our country. Art’s energy has a way of not only inspiring the participants but also mobilizing them to ACT when they return to their business. When it comes to Customer Service, no one in the world I know of can present this message in a way that everyone can understand. When the participants leave, they have the confidence and knowledge, along with the inspiration to execute what they have learned

Jim CopelandChief ExecutiveHardware Association Ireland

The survey results are in, and John Venhuizen is the highest rated speaker in the history of our PGA TOUR annual meetings! The unique ability that John has to combine humor, storytelling and humility into a presentation on Service Excellence is one that captured the attention of all in attendance. He seamlessly weaved the Ace Hardware concepts of Head, Heart and Hands into his session which hit home to all of our attendees. John spoke to the group in such a way that everyone felt they were having a one-on-one conversation with one of the most dynamic leaders they had ever had the chance to meet. Congratulations and many thanks for providing such a tremendous message on service and relationships to our team at the PGA TOUR.

John NorrisSenior Vice President, Tournament Business AffairsPGA TOUR

Ace Hardware’s outstanding reputation for service makes them the gold standard for independent retailing. When looking for companies that fit into a Business Session program on service culture, Ace was the obvious choice – and Tom Knox the perfect speaker. Tom’s presentation on Ace’s long-term strategy for amazing customer service was captivating, insightful, and just the inspiration our IGA independent retailers needed. We couldn’t have asked for a better fit.

Ashley PageIGA

Art Freedman has been working with our Ace Hardware retailers all over the world for the last 15 years. Art has a unique style of delivery that engages his audience immediately. Art has been an active participant in the development of our current Customer Service training and is our Helpful Expert in all of our Customer Service video training.

John VenhuizenCEOAce Hardware Corporation

The response from our ENTIRE organization to Gina’s address has been overwhelming! We knew that the idea of our folks hearing about the world of hardware for Gina’s perspective would be valuable but we did not anticipate how they would react. Gina made it personal. Her personal story and her honest detail of the daily opportunities and struggles of an entrepreneur launched a sea of ideas from all of the E.A. Langenfeld and TouchPoint 360 Associates of how we can help Gina and all Ace Retailers better…Yeah!!, that’s our job and why our company exists!! Almost everyone that I spoke with directly after you and Gina left asked when she was coming back. Mission Accomplished!

Ron BurkeCEO E.A. Langenfeld/Touchpoint 360

Sit back and listen to Gina Schaefer. She is bright, witty, entertaining, and laser-sharp in her focus. Gina is determined to translate her love of people and her passion for business into determined advocacy to motivate those lucky to be mentored by her. Gina’s biography is unique and inspirational for those of us able to learn from her example. A small business owner for just eleven years, Gina is a clear success story as she and her husband have grown their chain of Ace Hardware stores to 9.

Gina “leaned forward” long before it was fashionable, parlaying her business acumen, market savvy and enthusiasm for women in business to not only be flourishing on her own, but to serve as a role model for women everywhere desiring a meaningful career in small business. In her role as a member of the Board of Directors of Ace Hardware Corporation, Gina is uniquely positioned to spread her message amongst the young, up and coming cadre of future business leaders at Ace. Don’t misunderstand me though: Gina is more than an advocate for women in business. She “gets” the importance of Main Street to the vitality and health of our economy and quality of life. On the local and national level, Gina is a tireless advocate for diversity and vibrancy in our local economies, and will share her knowledge about why shopping local makes such a huge difference.

Rick KarpOwnerCole Hardware

I personally appreciate you sharing your blueprint for how local family businesses can continue to grow and thrive in a world of big box consolidation. As you know it is a passion we both share.

Dean VichaPresidentNationaLease

Gina Schaefer wowed me from the first time we met, when I interviewed her for the cover of my business magazine, http://www.BeInkandescent.com. Not only is she smart, savvy, and incredibly successful, I was particularly taken by how she cares for her employees – especially those who need a second chance. Her work with nonprofit organizations, such as Jubilee Jobs and ThinkLocalFirstDC are evidence of her determination to make a difference in the communities where her nine Ace Hardware stores are located. Equally impressive is the fact that this strong woman is making strides in a male-dominated business – which is why we tapped her to be one of the first women profiled in our 2014 Truly Amazing Women TV series. Gina’s leadership skills, can-do attitude, and success as an entrepreneur make her a powerful role model for everyone hoping to make a difference, and build a sustainable business.

Hope Katz GibbsPresident, Inkandescent PR, FounderThe Inkandescent Group LLC

“Six years ago our company was growing rapidly, yet struggling to be profitable. On the recommendation of a number of our peers, we began working with Art Freedman. Art delivered immediate results by revamping our retail pricing and rounding, which drove gross margin and our bottom line up significantly. Since then, Art’s role with Costello’s has expanded greatly and he has been instrumental in our growth and success.

A talented leader and engaging speaker, Art has spent countless hours inspiring our team of associates, managers, executives, and future leaders. He has driven results in:
1. Customer Service. Through numerous training initiatives including the implementation of
Ace’s Helpful 101
2. Marketing. By promoting creativity in branding, events, and procuring vendor funds
3. Staff development. Through many self-authored presentations on store operations and leadership including Costello’s Business Academy, an introductory leadership program given to newly hired and promoted members of management in our company.

Costello’s store count has grown by 60% in this short period; Art has been integral in positioning our company for this current and continued growth. Art has done this by creating a culture of teamwork, trust and excellence. He has added value to store operations, development & training, marketing, finance, category management, retail pricing, corporate structure – virtually every aspect of our business.

Art Freedman’s talent and passion are felt everywhere in our company from board room to sales floor.

Michael CostelloPresident/OwnerCostello’s Ace HardwareLong Island, New York