HDW to hold boot camp for young retailers

Hardware Distribution Warehouses (HDW), the Shreveport, La.-based distributor, is holding a five-day “boot camp” training program at its corporate headquarters to introduce younger generations to the hardware industry. Scheduled for July 16 to 20, the program hopes to address the implications of an aging work force by encouraging more young people to become hardware retailers. Attendees will have the opportunity to see how distributors and retail dealers work together, and gain a greater understanding of retail and manufacturing operations.

Kenneth Beauvais, CEO of Hardware Distribution Warehouses, said the goal of the training program is to create a pipeline of skilled workers. He explained that in recent years, many manufacturing and distribution companies have become “top heavy” with employees who have several years’ experience and are now eying retirement. “As an employee-owned company, we knew it was important to put into place a plan to replace our loyal and valuable employees as they retire,” Beauvais said.

Part of that plan includes the boot camp, which will expose different generations to all facets of the hardware industry, including distribution, sales, marketing and merchandising. “It is especially important for those second- and third-generation family dealers to expose their children, who are the future owners, to the opportunities within their store,” Beauvais said.

The HDW boot camp will focus on:

• Operations: Attendees will experience all aspects of operations, including warehouse, shipping and receiving.
• Sales: A territory manager will give an overview of sales operation and communication with dealers.
• Financial: Boot camp participants will look at an income and expense statement.
• Customer service: Customer service agents will demonstrate how they work with customers to process orders and credits.
• Merchandising: Attendees will learn how product orders originate and how warehouses are stocked. They will get to set up a display and learn about store gondolas.
• Marketing: Boot camp participants will get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at how they work with dealers to creatively advertise and market products to their retail customers.

Deadline for registration is June 15, 2012. Applications are available at hdwinc.com. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance after June 30, 2012. Those selected will have all expenses paid, with the exception of the cost of travel to and from Shreveport.

Hardware Distribution Warehouses is an employee-owned company that serves as a complete retail source for independent hardware and lumberyards. HDW has distribution centers located in Greenwood, Miss., and Shreveport, La., and is a member/owner of Distribution America.

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