In 1830 a new hardware store, also known as an ironmongery, was opened on the north-east corner of King and Yonge Streets in York (now Toronto), known as Ridout's Hardware Store. In 1845 a Board of Trade was organized and George P. Ridout was named its first president.
In 1845, James Aikenhead joined the firm of Ridout Bros. & Co. In 1868 James Aikenhead became a member of the firm which at this point was renamed to Ridout, Aikenhead and Crombie. On September 1, 1873 James' son Thomas E. Aikenhead started to serve a five year apprenticeship with Mrs. Ridout, Aikenhead and Crombie. In 1891 Ridout, Aikenhead and Crombie sold their lease on the corner of King and Yonge Streets and moved to Adelaide Street East. In 1893 Thomas E. Aikenhead purchased the business and it became known as Aikenhead Hardware Co.
In 1901, the business was reorganized as a limited stock company known as Aikenhead Hardware Limited. By 1930 Aikenhead Hardware Limited was situated on Temperance Street and had been there since 1905. By this point in time the business had six floors of merchandise and a warehouse for stock. It sold everything from tacks to tractors to cutlery and locks. In 1937 the company started to open branch stores in different communities in the Toronto area. They later expanded to the greater Toronto area and outside of it to such communities as Burlington, St. Catharines, Kitchener, Dundas, Markham and Sudbury. James T.E. Aikenhead, son of Thomas E. Aikenhead, joined the company in 1911 and took over from his father in 1944 as president. He died suddenly in 1948 and his brother J. Wilfred Aikenhead took over the presidency which he was still holding in 1969. In 1965 Aikenheads's purchased the hardware chain of Russell Hardware Company Limited and continued to expand.
By 1996, Aikenhead Hardware Limited was known as Aikenheads Improvement Warehouse Inc. with its corporate office located on Ellesmere in Toronto and stores located in Scarborough, Markham, Woodbridge, Brampton and Oakville.