Acme Tools, the Midwest retail powerhouse that created the original online tool and construction equipment sales site, Tool Crib of the North, has re-entered Internet retailing after a 10-year hiatus. Tool Crib was sold to Amazon.com in 1999.
The new acmetools.com features more than 10,000 products and is an authorized online retailer for DeWalt, Milwaukee, Bosch, Makita, Delta, Jet, Porter Cable, Toro, Stanley, and other tool manufacturers. According to Steve Kuhlman, who developed the site with his brother Paul, it's "the only tools and equipment website that provides detailed specifications for every product and gives customers the option of shopping by trade, category, or brand."
"Our focus is on guys that use their tools to make a living," Kuhlman adds. After Tool Crib was sold to Amazon.com, he says, "it diluted into a tool site more for the DIYer. Our focus is more for the carpenter, contractor, plumber," and other pro tool users.
Although ACME Tools – a family-owned business founded in 1948 by the Kuhlmans' grandfather – has expanded over the past decade through a chain of retail stores in North Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota, it was barred until recently from online sales by a 10-year noncompete agreement with Amazon.com. Today the company stocks more than 174,000 products from 3,100 manufacturers in its stores.