Hardware Store All-Stars: Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island

HCN congratulates the 50 hardware store, home center and farm and ranch retailers who made the annual HCN Hardware Store All-Star list.

Now in its third year, HCN's annual list of high performers recognizes hardware stores -- one from each state -- that are outstanding in their field. The complete list and analysis can be found in the September issue of HCN. Meanwhile, HCN Daily will work its way across the country with mini profiles, continuing this week with Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Massachusetts: If anyone understands the star-quality appeal of a happy employee, it's Lauren and Marilyn Baskin of Baskin's True Value in South Yarmouth. It's been in the family for over 30 years, but in many ways, that family has come to encompass its loyal staff. From the average manager, who's been there for about 20 years, all the way down to the floor employee running on an average of 10 years with the store, it's a strong staff with the knowledge and power to make informed decisions. What's their secret? Great benefits, which include a complete healthcare package, certainly don't hurt.

Connecticut: Owner Scott Pesavento began his hardware retailing education early -- at the tender age of 14, he was spending nights and weekends learning the family business from his father. But that's not the only reason why Fairfield's Hemlock Hardware is all-star material. Pesavento puts employees front and center with monthly store meetings and a collaborative spirit that engages the whole team. A complimentary fertilizer application service for his customers is a nice touch too.

Rhode Island: In Rhode Island, Wyoming Hardware Do it Best owner Rick Osborne describes his business style as “a retailer first, and a hardware guy second.” For instance, when the economy started to turn bad six years ago, Osborne sat down with a pad and paper and looked objectively at where to cut.

“We had to have a plan,” he told HCN. “We had to rein in the inventory. We certainly don’t believe in out of stocks, but we had to make a change.”

Fast action in the down years helped pave the way for the store to ride the recovery today. Wyoming Hardware is a member of Lets Buy Local, Buy Local RI and Independent We Stand, as well as the National Veteran-Owned Business Association. Check out Rick’s friendly message here.

Next week, HCN will highlight All-Stars in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. For the full state-by-state list of HCN Hardware Store All Stars, click here.

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