Everything To Know Before Buying Products From Acme Tools

Not to be confused with the fictional ACME of "Looney Tunes" fame, which makes anvils and nonfunctional gadgets, Acme Tools is its own enterprise. What is similar, however, is that the two companies share a birth year — 1948. A word that means perfection or a high point, Acme Tools blossomed from a little electric motor repair shop in North Dakota to a major online and brick-and-mortar enterprise.

You'll find Acme Tools stores in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa, but it was also the first company to create an e-commerce tool and equipment business in 1999. Prior to that, Acme Tools had a mail-order business, too. The company is still a booming online operation with over 95,000 items in its catalog. They also started selling equipment in 2013 as part of their Acme Equipment branch. Still, despite its enormous size, Acme Tools is still a family-owned and operated company– selling tools every homeowner should have.

While the company is a major tool and equipment retailer, it doesn't manufacture its own tools. However, it does sell all the major brands, from DEWALT to Milwaukee Tool. So here is everything you should know before making Acme Tools purchases. 

Is Acme Tools owned by Amazon?

When Acme Tools created its mail-order catalog branch in 1985, it was known as Tool Crib of the North. That name also carried over to its first-of-its-kind online tool and equipment catalog which came about in 1999. Although Acme Tools remains a family-owned and operated endeavor, its online presence, Tool Crib, was sold to Amazon in the same year. Acme Tools signed a non-compete clause with the mega-retailer at the time of the sale. 

Once that non-compete expired in 2010, Acme Tools got back online with what remains its e-commerce site acmetools.com. At the time, vice president of merchandise operations and marketing Paul Kuhlman told Digital Commerce 360 that the demand for online shopping made it necessary for the company to get back on the web. 

So, no, Acme Tools is not owned by Amazon. If you make a purchase on their website or at one of their physical stores, you are supporting the same business that has been around since the '40s. You can even still get one of their product catalogs in full color from their website

What does Acme Tools sell?

When it comes to product selection in the tool and equipment sector, Acme Tools has shelves stocked with just about anything you could imagine. It was even named one of America's Best Online Shops of 2024 and 2023 by Newsweek, topping the list within its category of DIY, tools, and supplies. The outlet collaborated with Statista to rank online businesses based on a handful of consumer-reported categories. 

Aside from tools, customers can shop for a wide range of storage solutions, material and handling equipment, safety gear, cleaning supplies, heating and cooling solutions, workwear, automotive essentials, and much more. As we previously mentioned, the site features over 95,000 products to choose from. The store is an authorized online retailer for some of the biggest tool companies out there, including Milwaukee Tool, DEWALT, EGO Power Plus, and Makita USA. They even have the tool every homeowner should have according to Mina Starsiak Hawk.

They've got their fair share of the best power tool brands. In fact, they source from over 1,200 tool brands, offering a comprehensive look at what there is to choose from. On top of those handheld tools, Acme Tools also specializes in heavy-duty equipment. The stores rent and sell equipment like tractors and forklifts for those bigger projects that need more heft. You can even buy tires there if you need them. 

Where did Acme Tools come from?

Acme Tools had a humble beginning as many businesses do, but it has come a long way from the 30-square-foot motor shop in Grand Forks. It has become a huge online tool retailer with 10 physical stores in the Midwest. The company remains in the family name, even four generations after George Kuhlman started the company. 

"Our success and growth over 70 years is a function of the importance we place on focusing on the customer and providing exceptional customer service," Steve Kuhlman, vice president of corporate operations at Acme Tools, said via PR Newswire in 2018. "That was my grandfather's guiding business principal when he founded Acme Electric and it's even more relevant today in our stores and our digital platform."

Although the company now extends far beyond its original home in Grand Forks, it also never left. In fact, in 2020, it received the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation's Klaus Thiessen Impact Award. According to the Grand Forks Herald, the award is bestowed upon individuals or businesses that support positive growth in the region. There is an awful lot to know about this company that got its start all those decades ago and many good reasons to buy products from Acme Tools.