New CEO addresses Destination True Value

DTV is “here to stay” but changes are possible, says Hartmann.

The Destination True Value format

As Chicago-based True Value seeks to encourage and support growth among members, the co-op’s six-and-half-year-old Destination True Value (DTV) remodeling program will continue to play a key role under new CEO John Hartmann.

But there may be some tweaks.

“To be crystal clear, Destination True Value is here to stay,” Hartmann told HCN in an interview during the co-op’s 2013 “Reunion” in Chicago last month. “The new guy is not coming in to turn it upside down. But I have a few ideas about it.”

One of those ideas is to somehow make the program more inclusive or more accessible to more True Value members. When Hartmann raised that point during his general session presentation to members in Chicago, the room applauded spontaneously.

Since 2008, True Value has opened, remodeled or converted nearly 400 stores with the Destination True Value format, representing more than 4.5 million sq. ft. (or as a True Value spokewman describes: “about 75 football fields.”) Year to date, 25 new DTV stores have opened, and the co-op is on track to open another 10 to 15 new stores this year. In total, nearly 1 million sq. ft. will open, remodel or convert to the DTV format in 2013.

Hartmann elaborated on his thoughts about the DTV. “We have a really hard focus on how we to make that format more productive; how do we refresh it? How do we ensure that those who invested in it, and also those who invest in it in the future, are getting a strong return.”

The co-op intends to continue the expansion of DTV across the country by ensuring financial support will continue, Hartmann said. The co-op says it has supplied $25.5 million in loans for stores and another $38.5 million in loans to refresh current stores in the past six years.

The CEO also said the co-op is looking to possibly explore creative ways that “stores can become relevant with the consumer within the DTV formant and potential alternatives to that format.” Any changes would have to avoid “diluting the format,” he stressed. 

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