At Handy, a new look for 2014

Doug Miller, Handy CEO.

After a volatile 2013, Handy Hardware is entering the new year with new ownership, new structure and a new emphasis on customer profits.

The Houston-based hardware distributor launched an initiative called “Profit Plus, the New face of Handy,” which encompasses business improvements and dealer programs.

“The Handy team and I want to thank our customers who stood buy us in 2013, and want them to know Handy’s ability to service our dealers has never been stronger,” said Doug Miller, CEO.

Handy Hardware emerged from a Chapter 11 filing in August 2013 after being purchased by Hardware Holdings, part of the Littlejohn & Company group. The company’s structure changed from a member-owned co-op to an independent wholesaler and distributor. As a result of the bankruptcy proceedings, retailers who were members of the co-op lost their equity.

The changes at Handy include personnel. Hardware Holdings' new president and CEO is Donald Devine, the former CEO of American Standard Brands. Hardware Holdings is also the parent company of Howard Berger Co. 

“We are operating Handy Hardware and HBC as independent companies focused on serving their customers in their respective markets,” Devine said. “The common ownership structure should enhance Handy Hardware’s ability to provide their dealers with profit enhancing sourced products from HBC’s extensive catalogue of hardware and building products, which are available to dealers and retailers across the country.”

Another change is in merchandising. The company hired Craig Cowart as EVP of merchandising and marketing.  Cowart was most recently the general manager of Your Other Warehouse, the wholesale division of The Home Depot based in Atlanta. He will spearhead Handy’s drive to improve our merchandising assortment, vendor relations, and dealer programs in support of the company’s “Profits Plus” initiative.

Cowart also served as president of Marvin’s, the Alabama-based home center chain.

Mickey Schulte, formerly VP merchandising, has moved to the newly created role of senior VP sales and key accounts, where he will oversee all of the company’s sales efforts. Ken Harvey, VP dealer services, will report to Schulte.

The changes will be addressed and explained at the distributors upcoming market in Houston. Handy said it expects nearly 500 booths of products from hundreds of suppliers at their spring market, which opens Feb. 13.

Said CEO Doug Miller: “We want as many of our dealers and vendors as possible to hear our vision of Handy Hardware, and we want them to share our excitement about Handy’s growth prospects with our loyal dealer base.”

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