Stihl Hardware All Stars: W.Va., Wis. and Wyo.

Customer service that’s so good, there’s no time for a phone interview

Willis Qualheim accepted the True Value "Best Hardware Store in Town" award.

It takes a little more to be a Stihl Hardware All Star.

Since 2011, HBSDealer has reached out to suppliers, distributors, manufacturers, vendors, retailers and homeowners in search of high-performing, service-oriented, community-minded hardware store, lumberyard or farm and ranch dealers worthy of All-Star status.

It’s a tribute to this industry that each year brings a surplus of high-quality nominations. The companies profiled have earned their place on the list of 50 — one from each state. And they join an elite fraternity of honorees.

Here’s to the class of 2017. And here’s to final three of the alphabetical list – stores that embrace customer service, customer convenience and breadth of merchandise.

West Virginia
Means PRO Lumber

Dwight Postalwait, co-owner of Means PRO Lumber in Beckley and Oak Hill, gave one of the best answers possible when asked by HBSDealer to describe the company’s All Star bona fides. “Sorry, can we talk later. I’m tied up with a customer.” That laser focus on the customer is one of the strengths of Means, which covers a huge range of merchandise for building and improving, as well as a strong hunting products mix.

Qualheim’s True Value
Qualheim’s, of Shawano, this year’s overall winner of True Value’s Best Hardware Store in Town awards program, is doing its best business when its competitors are taking the day off. At least that is how owner Willis Qualheim sees it: “I am always amazed when I hear someone say their store is closed on Sunday. Sunday is our best sales day as far as dollars-per-hour-opened; that’s when people are shopping for the DIY products.”

Lovell Building Center
Lovell sums up its value proposition like this: “Where hometown shopping meets selection and competitive pricing.” Its high marks, judging by online customer reviews, suggest that it lives up to its promise and then some ­— some would say that it has turned the state of the hardware business completely around in Lovell. Lovell Building Center is a full-service home center stocking everything from building materials to appliances, hardware and pet food, and it’s well-represented online with a clean, modern website that facilitates easy online shopping.

See the full Class of 2017 All Stars  — presented by Stihl — in the May issue of HBSDealer.

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