American Chess Equipment caters to a somewhat niche market, but their products are very durable and affordable. Find out if American Chess Equipment is the store for you!
American Chess Equipment is a unique shop in the world of online chess stores because it focuses mainly on providing high quality, durable chess equipment to chess clubs, school programs, and other organizations, rather than individual buyers. Because of their focus on organized chess, you won’t find quite as many luxury materials in their product listings as you might on other sites. Marble chess sets are certainly lovely, and they make for great conversation pieces, but American Chess Equipment is more focused on portable, durable sets that are designed for constant use rather than as a decoration.
The History of American Chess Equipment
American Chess Equipment (ACE) has been in business in one form or another since 1986. For over 30 years, they’ve been supplying high quality chess equipment to clubs and organizations all over. Now, by using the power of the internet, they can offer their products to many, many more chess groups and build their business even more. ACE has a rich history behind them, but also a bright future ahead.
Reputation of American Chess Equipment
American Chess Equipment is the unsung hero of chess clubs everywhere. They provide all types of chess boards, pieces, clocks, and other equipment at a discounted group rate, and they even offer customization options so you can emblazon your organization name, logo, or anything else on the products you order to make them your own, or just prevent them from being misplaced. Many clubs all over the country use their products, and any given tournament is likely to have a high concentration of ACE products on its tables!
The funny thing is that most players may never even realize where their equipment came from. Since the products hold up to frequent use so well, replacements are few and far between, so the subject of buying chess equipment is rarely top of mind. Equipment that breaks frequently is talked about often, but ACE products just work, so little is said about them. It’s an odd situation where creating very little word of mouth buzz is actually the sign of a quality product!
American Chess Equipment Product Quality
ACE products are specifically made to stand up to the rigors of regular club use. They know that these chess boards, pieces, and clocks, are unlikely to get a moment’s rest, so they build them to be able to withstand the constant use and keep right on ticking. The products are also very durable, so you don’t need to worry about them getting broken, even if you’re using them in a school based chess program for young children. You can count on American Chess Equipment!
Keep in mind that these products are not meant to compete with the meticulously handcrafted, luxurious chess sets that are available at some other online chess stores like Chess House and House of Staunton. That’s just not the market that American Chess Equipment is trying to tap into, and if you’re looking for that type of chess set, you’d probably be better off shopping somewhere else. What you’ll find at ACE is high quality, durable chess sets that are made from materials meant to withstand constant use. They’re not show stopping works of art, though many of them are quite beautiful, these are first and foremost practical products.
The American Chess Equipment Website
The American Chess Equipment has recently had a complete makeover. The new site is sleek, modern, and very easy to navigate. The pages have an uncluttered feel, but they still contain all the necessary information you’re looking for. The color palette is subdued, it doesn’t have any loud banners screaming for your attention or any brightly colored sections that hurt your eyes. Browsing the website is almost a Zen-like experience, with pictures of products floating past on a simple and clean white background as you scroll by.
But you don’t have to just scroll aimlessly. At the top of each page, there’s a heading with several different categories to choose from, including Sets, Pieces, Boards, Clocks, Travel, Accessories, and ACE Exclusives. Many of these categories have drop down menus so that you can filter your results even further. For example, if you hover over the “Sets” section, you’ll see additional options to choose from including Tournament Chess Sets, Wooden Chess Sets, Folding Chess Sets, and many more. Within each category, you can also sort products based on their price point, popularity, name, or newness. Of course, there is also a convenient search bar at the top of each page that you can use to find something specific.
Customer Service at American Chess Equipment
American Chess Equipment takes their relationship with their customers very seriously. They realize that fostering a good business relationship with the various chess clubs and organizations that buy their products is the best way to ensure that those organizations come back to ACE when they’re in need of new chess equipment. Because of this focus on maintaining good working relationships, customer service at ACE is very dedicated and does a good job making sure that any issues are dealt with promptly and to the customer’s satisfaction.
Whether you have a question about a product on their site, a problem with your order, or you just want to explore your customization options, friendly customer service agents will be available to help you every step of the way. You can contact them by email or by phone using the information on the website.
American Chess Equipment Sales, Deals, and Discounts
The prices at American Chess Equipment are already pretty great for the products that you’re getting, but you can get an even better value for your money when you buy in bulk. For starters, ACE offers special group discounts and promotions that are available only to those organizations that are registered with them, so make sure you introduce yourself before you make a purchase if you’re buying on behalf of a chess group.
They also have discounts on almost every product in their store when you buy multiples. For example, you may find that you get a 5% discount on orders of 6 items, 10% off 20 items, and even 15% off 40 items or more. That’s the kind of savings that can add up really quickly, especially if you have a lot of sets to buy! This progressive discount is one of the top reasons that we recommend American Chess Equipment to anyone who needs to buy chess equipment in large quantities. They really understand the needs of formal chess organizations and offer durable products at great prices to give you the most bang for your buck.
Shipping, Payment Methods, and Return Policies
Shipping costs when buying from American Chess Equipment can be somewhat higher than you might expect. For example, when we tested it out, Standard shipping cost $19.95 for one item, or $44.95 for two of that same item. For 10 of that same item, shipping would cost $99.95. Luckily, that seemed to be where the prices levelled off a bit, because even when ordering 50 chess sets, the shipping stayed at $99.95. There doesn’t seem to be a free shipping threshold as has become common with other retailers, or if there is, it’s not advertised on the website.
The pricing structure overall, and the shipping costs in particular reinforce ACE as a place to buy a large number of chess sets at a great value, but it may not be worthwhile for the small-quantity shopper.
Payment methods accepted seem to be credit or debit card only. It may be possible to work out another method by contacting customer service, but it’s not advertised. Similarly, the return policy is not mentioned explicitly on the website. This information may have gotten lost during the shift from the old website to the new one. Perhaps the new design is a bit too streamlined, favoring a minimalist design over easily accessible informative pages.
Final Thoughts on American Chess Equipment
American Chess Equipment is a great place to shop for a certain type of buyer. If you’re someone who’s been tasked with buying new chess equipment for a large chess organization, you will love ACE. If you’ve felt overwhelmed at how quickly the costs add up at other online chess stores, you’ll be relieved to learn about ACE’s quantity discounts which mean that the more you buy, the more you save.
You may even want to take advantage of their robust personalization options to mark each item with your organization’s name or logo. This customization is cool and fosters a sense of team unity, sure, but it also serves the more practical purpose of discouraging anyone from walking away with the marked merchandise, meaning you have to replace it less often.
Though it may not be the best choice for individual buyers looking for a small quantity of chess products, American Chess Equipment is perfect for those looking to buy in bulk.
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