Crain’s Chicago Business reports that Ace Hardware “has bought a majority stake in the Grommet, an e-commerce startup that touts new and innovative products from independent entrepreneurs.”

According to the story, Grommet “attempts to lure buyers with promises to smartly solve everyday problems such as smudged eyeglasses and pilly sweaters with new gadgets. It claims to have discovered and launched brand names including FitBit, IdeaPaint, OtterBox, SimpliSafe and SodaStream. The Grommet has featured more than 2,500 products and has more than three million customers, the companies said in a statement.”

The two companies started collaborating last year, but that was just a prelude to the majority investment by Ace.

KC's View: Ace is a 93-year-old company, which means it almost certainly is dripping with legacy systems and tradition. This is what companies like that have to do - find fresh blood that can give it an infusion of innovation and disruption. They have to manage the integration wisely - learning from the smaller company as opposed to imposing its own disadvantages upon it. But done right, this could be a really good idea.